Re: [xmca] Social situation, zpd and Franklin

From: David H Kirshner (
Date: Mon Jun 05 2006 - 09:23:16 PDT

Andy, thanks for your question.

I'm going to build, here, on my earlier long response (sorry) to Mike's
questions. From a crossdisciplinary perspective, I don't take collaboration
to be "essential to the learning relationship" nor anything else. That's
because what is conceived of as a productive learning relationship is
indexed to the particular metaphorical notion of learning one is interested
in supporting. For what I call "acculturationist teaching" in which the
teacher serves as a representative of a culture which the student is
encouraged to enter, I would agree that collaboration is close to the heart
of what one attempts to establish. The same may be true of
"enculturationist teaching" in which the teacher seeks (surreptitiously) to
nurture certain participation features within the classroom
microculture--the focus being on some kind of mutuality of purpose with
respect to increasingly central participation within the surrogate culture
of the classroom. But in a "psychological constructivist pedagogy" aimed at
supporting students' understanding of problematic conceptual content the
source of learning is not the relationship with the teacher, but engagement
in the task environment established by the teacher responsive to her or his
interpretation of the limitations of students' current understandings. The
student has to trust the teacher enough to engage fully in the task
presented by the teacher, but this is not a "collaboration" precisely
because there is not mutuality of purpose. The teacher develops the task
without co-participation or negotiation with the student. The student
thrashes around within the microworld created by the task, a microworld
that necessarily excludes the teacher.


PS. I've heard Eugene is planning to charge royalties on use of his
trademark sign-off, "What do you think?"

                      Andy Blunden
                      < To:
                      t> cc: (bcc: David H Kirshner/dkirsh/LSU)
                      Sent by: Subject: Re: [xmca] Social situation, zpd and Franklin
                      xmca-bounces who-is-at webe
                      06/04/2006 10:27
                      Please respond to
                      "eXtended Mind,

>It seems to me that the essential meaning of collaboration is precisely
>that the different subjects both pursue a common aim. I think that this
>conception includes the possibility of a subject offering solidarity to
>another so that their collaboration takes the form of lending support to a

>project created by the other subject. But the essence of the matter is
>that both pursue the same aim and work together for that end.
>That one subject (the 'teacher') has to determine what the other person's
>(the learner's) aim *should be* is clearly a best available alternative to

>the coincidence of projects which have independently presented themselves
>from both subjects' lives. Life is such that a hell of a lot of learning
>takes place between teachers working for a wage and students suffering
>compulsory education or seeking job-tickets, but I think LSV is right to
>start from what is essential to the learning relationship.
>What do you think?
>At 04:40 AM 4/06/2006 -0500, you wrote:
>>As I discuss in my 2002 paper, from a constructivist perspective
>>students' conceptual construction implies the need to "read" the
>>current conceptual configuration and to develop tasks and engagements
>>are coordinated with the limitations of the current conceptual structures
>>(as a way to promote transformation of those structures). But, despite
>>interest in fostering conceptual restructuring, Vygotsky wants to hang on
>>to a mode of collaboration in which coparticipation, itself, is
>>sufficient--a mode of engagement characteristic of the enculturationist
>>pedagogical approach (Kirshner, 2002). My argument in the 2002 paper is
>>that principled pedagogical methods only can be articulated relative to a
>>single metaphorical interpretation of learning. As I see it, this is why
>>"Vygotsky does not seem to have any systematic principles, methods, or
>>techniques that should guide how collaboration should be conducted by a
>>person who is assessing a zone of proximal development" (Chaiklin, 2003,

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