Re: [xmca] J.M. Baldwin, ZPD, Chaiklin

From: Gordon Wells (
Date: Tue Jun 06 2006 - 06:16:48 PDT

Phil, Ana, Mike and Others,

By chance, I have just been listening to Jim Lantolf talking about
dynamic assessment and arguing that DA is based on Vygotsky's writing
about the ZPD. Jim's examples were taken from foreign language
learning. In his talk, he started with the quote from Mind in Society
where Vygotsky writes about the different potential for development
of two (hypothetical) children who performed equally on a test but,
with assistance, differed considerably in what they were able to

Here, the 'definition' of learning and development in the ZPD seems
to be much broader in scope than that proposed by Chaiklin and can be
applied to tasks as restricted as figuring out, with assistance, how
to answer a test question.

I don't mean to interrupt the discussion of Franklin's learning with
Paley's assistance, which I am finding quite fascinating. But I have
two questions:

1. To what extent does Chaiklin draw on all of Vygotsky's discussions
of the ZPD?

2. Isn't it equally productive to take the metaphor of ZPD and use it
as an artifact for exploring the variety of ways in which teachers,
testers and others can assist learners to "go beyond themselves" in
the wide variety of activities in which they engage?


Gordon Wells
Dept of Education,
UC Santa Cruz.
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