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Re: zpd discussion


Mike Cole wrote:

Lots of interesting examples, nate. You put a LOT of work into the blog.

We had some discussion of Seth's paper earlier this, year, around February
I think, and the issues raised are certainly worth continued discussion. I
thought your long list of points about development from Valsiner counterposed
with Seth's discussion helped clarify the issues at stake considerably.
Hmm, I did not see Valsiner and Seth too much at odds.  I found more
consistancy between them other examples. For example, agreement on what
development for Vygotsky.

What did you mean by re-americanization?
Re-americanization simply refers to the fact the concept was
"appropriated" from an american behaviorist (McCarthy). In many ways its
current usage probally resembles  McCarthy more than Vygotsky.

The examples you give a pretty heterogeneous in origin. For example, Rogoff
in the work you cite explicitly rejects a distinction between learning and
development. I can understand how her use of the term could have a quite
different meaning that (those - judging from Seth's perusal of the complete
works) interpreation(s) in LSV, but meaningless?
If learning=development, then yes it was rendered meaningless. The
concept emerged from a critique of that exact viewpoint, among others,
about the relationship between learning and development.

It has struck me for some time as odd that in his article on learning aned
development, LSV does not define development, and his example of a zoped
is in the context of McCarthy's scales of infant development used as IQ
Vygotsky wrote a whole text on child development. Ek'konin's work on
stages comes directly from this work. I think Seth's work is very
imformative in this area.  I think its less of an issue of Vygotsky than
others , including american researchers, emphasizing the role he gives
development.  Mostly, because he accepted Piaget's stages, but critiqued
them as simply descriptive (list of characteristic) not explanatory.
Vygotsky, Elkon'in and other argued Piaget could not explain the child
going from one stage to another except by maturation. They believed the
"social situation of development" was a precurser not a result of this
process. I think there are strong historical and cultural reasons these
aspects of Vygotsky's work have not been emphasized.  It would be
interesting to think about what would be the result if Vygotsky emerged
prior to Piaget.

I have also been pondering for some time (inspired by Seth) that learning
and instruction are the major context for discussions of the zoped, but
LSV invokes it in his writing on play (an issue Seth does not take up).
You may be right. I do think that it is in play where the strongest case
for a "social situation of development"  being a precurser for future
development is.  For me the relationship between play and later literacy
activity is so clear cut. A child who lacks  many opportunities for play
(role play) struggles greatly in literacy activities.

I thought your invocation of the social situation of development was very
important. The collected works appear to have only one index entry for it,
or I skipped along too quickly, but collecting all the examples where it is
there and placing them alongside the references to zopeds would sure be useful.
Yes, but I fear it would be something akin to context. Just because the
word is not referred to does not mean the concept or idea does not exist.

Thanks for the comments.  One of the things I'm really trying to get at
is how its used in everyday use. One of the funniest "expansions" was
the Accelerated Reader computer program that gives each user their very
own ZPD. And, whats more, if you want to read a non-fiction book there
is a formula for that to (Fiction 2.0, would be a Non-fiction 1.3).

Website: http://nateweb.info/
Blog: http://levvygotsky.blogspot.com/
Email: willthereallsvpleasespeakup@nateweb.info

"The zone of proximal development defines those functions that have not yet matured but are in the process of maturation, functions that will mature tomorrow but are currently in an embryonic state. These functions could be termed the buds or flowers of development rather than the "fruits" of development. The actual developmental level characterizes mental development retrospectively, while the zone of proximal development characterizes mental development prospectively."
- L.S.V.