The short answer is "No".
It always takes some effort to jump into someone else's text/mind, and this
may be why the answer to Mike's question seems so elusive. I'm going to try
to stick closely to Chaiklin's text, reserving, not pushing, my own
What Chaiklin is advocating, reading among and between the lines, is that one
cannot ascribe a zoped without a theoretical framework. First, he clarifies
development, and I've been able to pull out these aspects, although the list
may not be complete:
1) involves the whole child, not one task
2) is staged
3) is functional
4) is agentful (willful)
5) is historical (need description of the theoretical model)
6) is material
Chaiklin states that objective zopeds, while culturally-historically specific,
are normative, "one can say that the [objective] zone is normative..." p 49.,
reflecting 'a particular societal tradition of practice."
So Franklin's definitely not in THAT zone, the objective zone. But what about
the subjective zone?
For the subjective zoped, Chaiklin writes the "ability to imitate... is the
basis for the subjective zoped." p 51. and then "Imitation is possible
only to the extent and in those forms in which it is accompanied by
understanding" p 51-52.
This IS a very specific delineation of 'imitation', not the normal cultural
meaning, but I've seen common words used with precise definitions in other
areas ( e.g. force, energy, momentum mean precise things to physicists), so I
do not find this refinement of 'imitation' peculiar. Rather, the
sub-question to Mike's big one becomes " Is Franklin imitating Paley
imitating Franklin (or imitating himself) when in the circle, or is he just
For that, we have to try to assess Franklin's understanding of the situation,
i.e., reading Chaiklin closeley, this seems to mean whether there are
"maturing psychlogical functions that are developing" p 57, to which Paley's
intervention is directed. The problem is that Paley just does not articulate
enough of the situation for us to tell, one way or the other. My conjecture,
reading into the situation, is that there are functions of self-regulation
that are in development concerning Franklin -- he can't self-regulate at the
blocks, but with the support of a socio-dramatic play context, he is able to
cooperate with other children. Paley writes ""pretend disarms and enchants;
it suggests heroic possibilities for making changes, just as in the fairy
tales." Franklin just may be "imitating", with understanding. The only
evidence we seem to have is that he is able to cooperate in one situation,
i.e. socio-dramatic simulation of the building blocks, while not being able
to cooperate while actually in the building block area.
But no, this is circumstantial evidence, not conclusive, becuase a theoretical
model of Franklin's age period for self-regulation in the practice of
building with blocks has not been expressed, at least not in Paley's paper.
Chaiklin writes "the zone is never located soley in the child, not even the
subjective zone. the subjective zone is always an evaluation of a child's
capabilities in relation to the theoretical model of the age period. p 58.
Theoretical models for the role of socio-dramatic play have appeared in the
literature however, e.g. in Cole & Cole, and Leong & Bodrova, et...
So perhaps Paley knows. Paley wrote: 'A role playing incident may not alter a
person's manners, but it provides a standard for easy reference. I can now
speak about Franklin's behaviour in a calm context, and he willingly sees
himself in the picture'. It's not clear whether Paley is evaluated
Franklin's performance in relation to a theoretical model -- she does not
articulate this in such a manner in her text. She does seem to have a grasp
of the situation, however, writing the first part of her claim in general
There is just not enough written about the situation to tell for sure. The
Paula and Randy in me want to vote yes, but Simon Says "No".
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