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RE: [xmca] Zone of Proximal Development

Message from Francine Smolucha:

Dear Ulvi et al.,

I have read a lot of Vygotsky's writings in the original Russian and somewhere -----
I got the impression that the zone of proximal development results from the invention
or introduction of a tool (conceptual/linguistic/graphic or physical/manual) that
enables the learner to perform at a higher level (than could be achieved unassisted.)

Learning is accelerated in the zone of proximal development because you learn more
efficiently (teach more efficiently.) You do not speed up the lesson. The lesson might
even take longer, but the learner performs "a head taller" than the typical age norm.
This results in a new higher level of unassisted performance, as the learner incorporates or
appropriates the "tool." 

This is how I am homeschooling my son. I invent new ways to explain something
or solve a problem; we formulate new ways to look at things; we invent "manipulatives."
We make connections between things - historical, semantic, analogical, logical, poetic,
and humorous. I am going to start watching to see what tools he invents to help himself
(or to help me solve a problem.)

Is he a "head taller"  ?????
My 13 year old son (who would be finishing 7th grade) is doing well on the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship
workbook (an exam for 17 year olds.) 

Challenges can be envigorating - like rock climbing.

The challenges become stressful when you lose your sense of well being (lose your footing)
and are afraid you are going to fall (fail.)

Oh, and here's a metaphor for the typical school classrooms that I have observed (that he has been in)
- picture a neglected garden (flowers or vegetables)- not fertilized, seldom watered, weeds, too much sun
in some spots, too little in others, no trellises to support growing plants, in need of pruning.
Hardy plants survive, some bear fruit, some grow wild. Sensitive plants are not thriving, might 
even die.

> Date: Fri, 29 May 2009 17:36:07 +0300
> From: ulvi.icil@gmail.com
> To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> Subject: [xmca] Zone of Proximal Development
> Hello,
> I have a question.
> As we know, some people point to the dangers of speeding academic education
> for children (to bring it down to preschool, elimination of play etc that we
> also discussed here in xmca recently) and I think that they are right.
> On the other hand, for many people who hears the concept of zone of proximal
> development , it directly brings to mind, a similar speeding up...
> Me too, my mind is not clear, if ZPD corresponds to a fastening of academic
> education , bringing it to earlier ages or not...
> In Bodrova and Leong, Tools of Mind, I have read that Zaporozhets interprets
> ZPD so that it should not be interpreted as such a fastening but rather
> amplifying ...
> Can any friend have a brief clarifying concept on this please?
> Ulvi
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