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[Xmca-l] Re: zone of next development


Oh, Vygotsky's being metaphorical! But of course every metaphor is ALSO a
translation problem, because unless you are careful, what is metaphorical
in one language becomes literal when you translate it. Even a successful
translation of metaphor often fails, because some metaphor you thought was
marvellously fresh and original turns out to be completely trite and banal
to native speakers (e.g. in Chinese a non sequitur is a horse's lips sewed
to a cow's head, but to most Chinese people that just means: doesn't

Vygotsky's full of good metaphors, even when he is attacking other people
for being metaphorical. At the beginning of HDHMF he attacks botanical and
zoological metaphors for child development--but of course he uses the
metaphor of the foolish gardener who counts only the ripe fruit and ignores
the ripening fruit as early as 1926 and "Educational Psychology" and he
continues to use it as late as "Thinking and Speech". My favorite metaphor
is that science concepts do not drop into the child's mouth "like already
roasted pigeons falling out of the sky". I have never been able to discover
if this is fresh and original or trite and banal to native speakers in
Russian--in any case, Minick just says "science concepts do not drop into
the child's mouth like hotcakes".

But I think we really need to stop blaming our tools--that is, our
translations. The key to "what the child can do with assistance today he
will do without assistance tomorrow" is right there in "Mind in Society",
and it's even more widely quoted: it's page 86, where Vygotsky lays out,
step by step, the measurement of the ZPD, and he does so in years. He also
speaks very casually of the various methods that you might use to help the
child with a problem that the child cannot solve independently: Different
experimenters might use different methods: leading questions, starting a
solution and allowing the child to finish;  doing a demonstration and
asking for the child to repeat (and elsewhere he uses "imitation" as the
main content of assistance. But we have focused entirely on the incidental
and epiphenomenal--the "scaffolding methods"--and ignored the essential and
indispensable--the underlying circleof concepts that must underpin
development. That's not the fault of the translator.

The term "critical period" has a very specific meaning, Henry--it belongs
to ages one, three, seven, thirteen, and seventeen, and each crisis has a
specific content (one is the discovery that other people don't understand
proto-speech, three is the crisis of "no!", seven is the crisis of "acting
out", etc.). There's a good discussion of the indispensability of the
crisis to Vygotsky's scheme in the argument I had with Wolff-Michael Roth
about his piece on neoformations in MCA. Roth uses freezing ice as an
example of a crisis, but I think this is a perfect example of purely
metaphorical use. I think the same thing is true of using the idea of
"Critical Period" from Lenneberg. What Lenneberg really meant was that if
you don't acquire a language by puberty, you never will. Vygotsky also
believes in "maximally sensitive periods" for language learning, but these
are not critical. By the way, Vygotsky doesn't think that puberty is a

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

and then when he talks about Actually, the key is right there, on p.

On Thu, Nov 24, 2016 at 3:16 AM, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com> wrote:

> David,
> In your quote from Vygotsky he uses the term “critical age” and “critical
> period” as developed by Penfield and Lenneberg here in North America in
> relation to language development.
> From Wikipedia:
> "The critical period hypothesis is the subject of a long-standing debate
> in linguistics <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistics> and language
> acquisition <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_acquisition> over the
> extent to which the ability to acquire language <https://en.wikipedia.org/
> wiki/Language> is biologically linked to age. The hypothesis claims that
> there is an ideal time window to acquire language in a linguistically rich
> environment, after which further language acquisition becomes much more
> difficult and effortful.”
> What kind of resonance do you find between “critical age” as Vygotsky uses
> it and the “critical period hypothesis”?
> Henry
> > On Nov 22, 2016, at 6:29 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > Peter:
> >
> > The French translation is "zone prochaine de developpement", i.e. the
> next
> > zone of development. Francoise Seve explains why--it is because the "next
> > zone of development" does not refer to any particular skill or knowledge
> or
> > even metalinguistic reflection that the child is going to have in the
> > course of development; it refers very precisely to the functions which
> will
> > be the most rapidly developing functions in the next age level, according
> > to the schema that Vygotsky was working out in "The Problem of Age"
> (Vol. 5
> > in English, p. 196). This is completely confirmed by a remark that
> Vygotsky
> > makes at the beginning of the lecture on the Crisis at Three (p. 283 in
> the
> > English Collected Works):
> >
> > ""...(W)e must assume that all changes and all events that happen during
> > the period of this crisis are grouped around some neoformation of a
> > transitional type. Consequently, when we analyse the symptoms of the
> > crisis, we msut answer, albeit conditionally, the question as to what it
> is
> > that is new that appears during the indicated time and what is the fate
> of
> > the neoformation that disappears after it. Then we must consider what
> > change is occurring in the central and peripheral lines of development.
> > Finally, we must evaluate the critical age from the point of view of the
> > zone of its proximal development, that is, the relation to subsequent
> > growth".
> >
> > This is why the ZPD is ALWAYS measured in years, something that very few
> > Western people who invoke the concept have ever noted, even though it is
> > quite explicit in every place that the ZPD is invoked. Even when the ZPD
> is
> > spoken of somewhat loosely, (e.g. "What the child can do with assistance
> > today he will be able to do without assistance tomorrow", or "in play the
> > child is a head taller than himself") it is very clear that years are
> > meant. Tomorrow does not and cannot mean 24 hours later, and the child
> will
> > not be a head taller than himself in a week or two.
> >
> > David Kellogg
> > Macquarie University
> >
> > On Wed, Nov 23, 2016 at 10:22 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu>
> wrote:
> >
> >> I'm watching the version of The Butterflies of Zagorsk that Mike
> >> generously shared from the UCSD archives. I give it 4 stars. It would
> be 5,
> >> but the copy is pretty bad.
> >>
> >> The narrator consistently refers to the "zone of next development"
> >> illustrated by periodic diagnostic sessions that also involved
> assistance
> >> with deaf and blind kids learning how to speak with their hands on
> >> another's hands.
> >>
> >> Zone of Next Development seems such a better term than ZPD. Proximal is
> >> too ambiguous, and so allows for just about any learning of anything
> anyhow
> >> to be illustrative of the ZPD. "Next" instead really emphasizes the more
> >> long-term growth that Vygotsky had in mind, as I understand his writing.
> >>
> >> But it's proximal in all the translations. Any help in understanding
> why?
> >> Thx,p
> >>
Status: O