I have been lurking in the background (still within the zone though!) taking in this great discussion on zpd. This is a very simple question and possibly it has been clarified before but somehow I missed it. Mike, you mentioned that ZOPED is your terminology, does that mean 'zone of proximal educational development' or does it stand for something else and if so why have you included the 'e'?
I am a high school science and computer science teacher and over the pass several years I have been intentionally incorporating zone of proximal development as a theoretical framework in my practice. I think it makes a lot of difference to the quality of my teaching and more importantly, to the outcome (student learning and competence.) These are some simple examples:
I would show new students how a breadboard (electronic circuit board) works, how to use it and how to strip conductors (wires) and then ask them (given the necessary instructions) to build a circuit to verify the logics of gates (AND, NOT, OR, NOR, EOR) and to jazz-up the circuit as they see fit. It is always amazing what these new but engaged students come up with far beyound my wildest dreams.
both in science and computer science, Instead of assigning projects, I would ask for proposals (of course, given some basic and necessary criteria) for projects. Again, far beyond my wildest dreams students constuct outstanding projects that never fail to amaze me.
Sometime in the future I may be able to show some of this work at a workshop of some sort, others may have similar interests (maybe evidence of student learning based on zone of proximal development.) What are your thoughs?
----- Original Message ----
From: Mike Cole <email@example.com>
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Sunday, June 11, 2006 8:46:55 PM
Subject: Re: [xmca] Playfully Answering Ana--
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
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 <email@example.com> 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" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > Date: Fri, 9 Jun 2006 12:37:33 +0200
> > To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
> > 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" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > To: <email@example.com>; "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
> > <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > 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
> >>> _______________________________________________
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