RE: Scaffolding

From: Cunningham, Donald J. (
Date: Sun Jan 23 2005 - 11:33:08 PST

The mother-child interaction in the Bruner quote.

Sorry for the interruption! This should have been a "thought bubble"
rather than a "speech bubble" (like they use in the comic pages).

I'm currently teaching my survey of theories of learning course and was
just making the point in class how different theorists will see
different things looking at the "same" event. In this case, some see
scaffolding, others might see shaping.

I've had this problem of thinking out loud, often off topic, all my
life. My teachers were never able to shape it out of me!

Never mind............djc

Don Cunningham
Indiana University

-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Cole []
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2005 1:46 PM
Subject: Re: Scaffolding

which this?

On Sun, 23 Jan 2005 13:17:06 -0500, Cunningham, Donald J.
<> wrote:
> Skinner used to call this "shaping"!
> Don Cunningham
> Indiana University
> -----Original Message-----
> From: willthereallsvpleasespeakup who-is-at
> [mailto:willthereallsvpleasespeakup who-is-at]
> Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2005 10:28 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Scaffolding
> Mike,
> I have never read Child's Talk, but from - Actual Minds, Possible
> - Bruner takes Vygotsky's statement
> "Thus the notion of the zone of proximal development enables us to
> propound a new formula, namely that the only "good teaching " is that
> which is in advance of development"
> in relation to Vygotsky reference to how " consciousness and control
> only appear only in the late stage of the development of a function".
> Bruner poses those two quotes as the problem of,
> "So how could this "good learning" be achieved in advance of
> development since, as it were, the child's unmasterly reaction to a
> would be bound initially to be unconscious and unreflective? How can
> competent adult "lend" consciousness to a child who does not "have" it
> on his own? What is it that makes possible this implanting of
> consciousness in the child by his adult tutor? It is as if there were
> kind of scaffolding erected for the learner by the tutor. But how?"
> In referring to the tutor Dr. Ross he states,
> Bruner, in referring to the tutor Dr. Ross,
> "She made capital out of the zone that exists between what people can
> recognize and comprehend when present before them and what they can
> generate on their own - and that is the Zone of Proximal Development."
> In looking more specifically at the tutor relationship he writes,
> "This sequence provides a scaffold for "teaching" reference. At the
> start, the infant may understand little. His response to the query may
> then develop and take the form of a babble. And once that occurs, the
> mother will thereafter insist on some response in that slot of the
> scaffold. Once the child alters his responding babble to a word-length
> vocalization, she will again raise the ante and not accept a babble,
> only the shorter version. Eventually, when the name of a referent is
> mastered, she will shift to a game in which the given and the new are
> be separated. Whereas before, "What's that?" was spoken with a rising
> terminal stress, now it receives a falling terminal stress, as if to
> indicate that she knows that the child knows the answer. To which he
> typically responds with a new show of coyness. And shortly after, she
> raises the ante again: "What's the fishy doing?" with rising terminal
> stress anew as she takes him into the ZPD again, this time to master
> predication. She remains forever on the growing edge of the child's
> competence."
> He then writes on LASS,
> "In my own work, I concluded that any innate Language Acquisition
> Device, LAD, that helps members of our species to penetrate language
> could not possibly succeed but for the presence of a Language
> Acquisition Support System, LASS, provided by the social world, that
> matched to LAD in some regular way. It is LASS that helps the child
> navigate across the Zone of Proximal Development to flail and
> control of language use."
> Hmm, is it me, or could there be some analogies to ZPD as functional
> system in CZ?
> Nate
> Mike Cole wrote:
> >I suppose one could interpret the idea of a Languages Acquistion
> Support System
> >in terms of the scaffolding metaphor, Nate. I always saw it as a
> >Bruner cleverism to
> >make clear his counterpositiong to Chomsky's Language Acquisition
> >Device, emphasizing the equal importance of the socio-cultural
> >environment.
> >
> >If we want to preserve social origins of human mental functions a la
> >Vygotsky, what in the substance of Bruner's argument (Laid out more
> >fully in his earlier
> >book, *Child's Talk*) would you propose?
> >mike
> >
> --
> Website:
> Blog:
> Email: willthereallsvpleasespeakup who-is-at
> "The zone of proximal development defines those functions that have
> yet matured but are in the process of maturation, functions that will
> mature tomorrow but are currently in an embryonic state. These
> could be termed the buds or flowers of development rather than
> the "fruits" of development. The actual developmental level
> characterizes mental development retrospectively, while the zone of
> proximal development characterizes mental development prospectively."
> - L.S.V.

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