Re: [xmca] Social situation, zpd and Franklin

From: Steve Gabosch (
Date: Sun Jun 04 2006 - 16:20:30 PDT

Seth's distinction between the objective and subjective dimensions of
the zone of proximal development has me thinking. He explains that
the objective zone is "a tripartite constellation of present age,
maturing functions, and next age" - "structural relationships that
are historically constructed and objectively constituted" (pg
49). The subjective zoped reflects "the extent to which a child's
currently maturing functions are realizing the structure of the next
age period" (pg 50). Looking at the concept of zoped in terms of the
objective social conditions ("social situation of development," pg
47) as well as in terms of the individual development of each child
seems to open up new doors. For one, since we know the objective
conditions children are raised in are contradictory, we might be able
to gain insights into contradictory psychological functions and
perhaps contradictory zopeds children seem to develop in various age
periods, such as adolescence.

I am also thinking that the objective/subjective distinction might be
helpful answering the question about whether Franklin was
participating in a zoped. It seems that he was confronted with
powerful social forces and objective conditions which were driving
the teacher and the students to insist that Franklin play blocks
democratically. Specific levels of development and behavior were
socially expected of Franklin and understood at least by the teacher
to be essential to Franklin's growth process. Franklin's skills and
knowledge with art construction and superhero mythology were
something different, perhaps just cultural repertoires - but probably
not essential to his structural development. But Franklin learning
to play blocks democratically was - perhaps even to his fellow
students. The concept of a subjective zoped might be helpful to
grasp how far along Franklin was getting in his specific development
of cooperative psychological functions in terms of his "whole child"
growth. What was holding him back from behaving democratically? How
would he respond to his recognition of his tyrant-like behavior in
the play acting? Would more such play-acting help? What else might help?

- Steve

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