Re: Scaffolding

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Sun Jan 23 2005 - 17:26:25 PST

Vygotsky's treatment is clear. It can be found pp. 41ff of Vol. 4 of
the collected works where he discusses the cultural evolution of
mediational means. It is in this section that he gives the example
from War and Peace, where Pierre cannot decide whether or not to go to
war and castes dice as a means of deciding (and then rejects the
answer if he doesn't like it-- all of war and peace can be seen as a
meditation up on the nature of will and historical processes at the
individual and social levels).
PS- Nice to be done grading!

On Sun, 23 Jan 2005 19:13:53 -0600,
willthereallsvpleasespeakup who-is-at
<willthereallsvpleasespeakup who-is-at> wrote:
> Ana
> This reminds me of Buridan's Ass,
> I do remember Vygotsky mentioning it, but Valsiner's diagrams really
> bring out the significance of the reference for mediation.
> Nate
> Ana Marjanovic-Shane wrote:
> > It would be fascinating to compare concepts like Skinner's "shaping"
> > to "scaffolding" to ZPD.
> > >From the little quote by Skinner about how they taught a pigeon to
> > bowl, and from the descriptions of the mother-child interactions
> > (further down), there seems to emerge at least one big difference in
> > the two types of learning:
> > Pigeons learn within almost closed feedback loop between their
> > behavior and the "reward" -- it is learning in a given situation and
> > by "blind" trial and error.
> > Children (people) have the "third" component, which mediates between
> > the behavior and its "outcome" -- symbolic behavior -- language and
> > other symbolic devices.
> > I think that the process of mediation, or in other words, symbolic
> > tools are that what is being constructed in ZPD. The learning is not
> > direct -- ZPD is a "place" where you focus on construction of tools
> > for a particular knowledge domain -- tools that can be used to
> > actually get a grip on a particular domain of the reality. That is why
> > it so often seems that children and adults already can do/understand
> > something in play while it is still impossible in "reality".
> > The question is -- can we observe learning through construction of
> > symbolic tools in animals?? Or some animals? Ability to construct and
> > use symbolic tools becomes an interesting evolutionary difference
> > between humans and other species. The question is, is there an
> > intermediary step between learning by a direct feedback loop and
> > learning through a mediated ZPD? How does this new way of leaning and
> > understanding come into existence in the evolution?
> >
> > Ana
> >
> >
> --
> Website:
> Blog:
> Email: willthereallsvpleasespeakup who-is-at
> "The zone of proximal development defines those functions that have not yet matured but are in the process of maturation, functions that will mature tomorrow but are currently in an embryonic state. These functions 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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