Re: [xmca] Playfully Answering Ana--

From: Ed Wall (
Date: Sun Jun 11 2006 - 20:08:04 PDT


    Actually I rather like the the ideas of LSV being an empirical
philosopher. I do think what Chailkin has done matters. Halliday and
others talk of dead metaphor - i.e. terms and phrases that tend to be
no longer unpacked. Chailkin has been quite helpful here.
     Here is where I'm wondering: Say one takes Paley and Franklin as
an instance of something 'zoped' like. What criteria could be used
for thoughtfully including or excluding (this would be quite
interesting) other compelling empirical instances? Some of this has,
it seems, already evolved out of the discussion.


>Lois, Ed, the Ghost of LSV, and humpty dumpty---
>Here is how I read the current, really instructive and fascinating thread:
>Someone raises the issue of zones of proximal development (zopeds in my
>terminology) in a way that
>gets me to ask people to send papers of what they mean by this with
>empirical examples that support
>their views. Seth's survey from the Plenum volumes inspires this interest
>because he basically says that
>we Americans are badly mistaken in our interpretation of LSV and the
>meanings of learning and development (especially)
>and he offers a set of criteria for straight thinking about the issues. I
>post Seth's article and my own favorite example of
>what I think is a zoped from Paley. and something else I forget at the
>moment-- and I would happily post more!).
>Discussion begins. Its all there on xma web page.
>I conclude after a lot of discussion that so far as I can tell, if we adopt
>the Chaiklin (presumably LSV) criteria for what
>constitutes development, there are NO empirical examples of zopeds in EITHER
>teaching/learning offered by LSV or
>anyone else. I ask for examples that contradict me from the (distributedly
>assembled) group.
>is what comes back.
>There are suggestions that perhaps LSV was only speaking metaphorically,
>that Paley is vague and Franklin's story is only an
>anecdote, that we should relax Chaiklin's criteria, that........... a lot
>of things. BUT, no one puts forward a claim that they have an
>example that illustrates convincingly anything that someone would call a
>zoped except LSV who took the story of two sisters playing
>sister as an example for play and some remarks from macarthy psychomotor
>scales (1930?) as examples. And no one says its
>a pile of crap-- that learning is development, that development is...... etc
>Ed says no problem, LSV was a phenomenologist. I would say he was an
>empirical. philosopher, like Dewey or many of those on XMCA.
>According to Luria, he did little demos, pour voir (as Sylvia and I wrote in
>the intro to the 1978 volume). Don would probably quote
>humpty dumpty, with whom I have great sympathy.
>But this being, so to speak, empirical philosophy, it seems at least
>relevant to ask what consittutes empirical evidence relevant to the
>My own view is that Paley is a brilliant empricist whose methods are
>ecologically valid and hugely insightful, if not readily replicable (after
>you have to commit yourself to spending 40 years working in a preschool
>classroom, recording conversations, writing them down, etc and what self
>respecting academic researcher would was their time doing that?).
>Then there is the issue of practice. Given that we can all use words as we
>wish, or as big brother makes us use them, what difference does it
>make, other than getting published in a high status journal so we can get
>paid to gabble? For me, personally, the ideas appear to guide design
>of (excuse the term!) developmentally productive practices for kids and
>undergrads and post docs and old professors. But if I were to trot
>out a lot of examples I believe in, or evidence, or whatever, that would be
>playing big brother in the context of MCA. So I am trying to ask
>questions to understand what others think of the issues so that I can learn,
>and develop, as a result.
>That is the context for my imprecise remarks. Sorry to be so vague. It comes
>with my territory. Perhaps you could help us develop?
>On 6/10/06, Lois Holzman <> wrote:
>>Yes, I have thought about this. As you, Vesna, know, I think of the zoped
>>something people create together, which is a view you and I share. Can we
>>see this in the examples that are the focus of this current conversation?
>>I'm going to look.
>>> From: "zdravo" <zdravo@EUnet.yu>
>>> Reply-To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
>>> Date: Fri, 9 Jun 2006 12:37:33 +0200
>>> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
>>> Subject: Re: [xmca] Playfully Answering Ana--
>>> Ana, thanks for your conversations. I will put some questions. Could our
>>> talking about Zoped from CHAT perspective, be or become Zoped in itself?
>>> Have you ever thought about that?
>>> Vesna
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: "Ana Marjanovic-Shane" <>
>>> To: <>; "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
>>> <>
>>> Sent: Thursday, June 08, 2006 11:36 PM
>>> Subject: Re: [xmca] Playfully Answering Ana--
>>>> Thanks, Mike,
>>>> I was not sure -- :-)
>>>> I think you asked a very important question about play and zone of
>>>> proximal development. One of the problems we have is that "play" (even
>>>> if we talk only about fantasy play, or dramatic play, or role play, or
>>>> pretend play -- all various names for the roughly the same phenomenon)
>>>> is not understood the same by various people. Despite an extensive
>>>> by Elkonin which builds on Vygotsky, and a half a dozen people who
>>>> play from the CHAT perspective, there are still many unknowns.
>>>> For instance:
>>>> Is it ONE phenomenon that we are talking about?? There are many
>>>> definitions, some of them incompatible with each other.
>>>> Many episodes in literature, like the one by V. Paley of Franklin, are
>>>> impressionistic stories taken by teachers or even researchers -- which
>>>> filter out many details thought not to be important for understanding
>>> play.
>>>> There is a large body of research on play in this country and in
>>>> in general, by people who have never heard of Vygotsky or cultural
>>>> historical activity theory. While they are fascinating in their own
>>>> right, it is sometimes clear that what the authors are observing misses
>>>> out features needed to be known by someone who would want to find out
>>>> weather there might be a possibility of the zone of proximal
>>>> taking place...
>>>> Fourth, the generally accepted definitions of the ZPD - and
>>>> interpretations like the one we have by Seth, are based on very
>>>> different type of activities (academic testing, or at least an academic
>>>> dialogue between an adult and a child) than play - weather spontaneous
>>>> or guided, weather by children only or including adults.
>>>> And finally, I think that looking at isolated episodes cannot is
>>>> insufficient. Since, by definition, ZPD is a construction zone, a time
>>>> of dynamic changes where everything is "up in the air", a longer period
>>>> of time and more play and non play observations should be made on a
>>>> child in order to be able to make any decisive conclusions about that
>>>> child's position in her/his ZPD.
>>>> But this is definitely one of the most important areas of further
>>>> We do need a solid theoretical connection between play and play like
>>>> activities on one hand and academic learning and development
>>>> (intellectual, emotional, personal etc) on the other.
>>>> Ana
>>>> Mike Cole wrote:
>>>>> That was a chapter from Elkonin that appeared in
>>>>> Journal Russian East European Psych, 2005, vol 43, NO1
>>>>> All of Psych of play is there I think.
>>>>> mike
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> xmca mailing list
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>> >> Ana Marjanovic'-Shane,Ph.D.
>>>> 151 W. Tulpehocken St.
>>>> Philadelphia, PA 19144
>>>> Home office: (215) 843-2909
>>>> Mobile: (267) 334-2905
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