"How can one juxtapose the words 'independent problem solving' in a cultural theory of mediated development?" asked by Mike Cole and commented on by bb.
If the theory is historical as well as cultural, then historical/developmental processes of the kind of interest to LSV have already created mental capacity which can be used, without the mediation of adults or peers, to determine a current level for problem solving. The tasks would still be mediated by something - maybe the task as set. Or have I got it wrong? What have I missed?
There are two other issues which interest me. The first is that while LSV's formulation in the famous extract appears to be directed towards mental measurement and "levels" of development, the cultural application of this idea has led to an emphasis on "scaffolding", particularly as promoted by Bruner, in relation to the ZPD. A clear statement appears in Bruner's Prologue in Volume 1 of the Collected Works. Thus the individual measurement issue does not appear to have been pursued and interest has become attached to pedagogical procedures involving adults and peers, a topic which fits contemporary practices such as co-operative learning. But if one does not know the independent level how can one judge whether the zone can be "expressed by the number 4 for one child and by the number 1 for the other." I am not arguing for measurement - just trying to unravel meaning.
The second issue is one which someone may be able to answer. It links with the interesting discussion of Luria using the syllogism to test peasants. There was a comment (by Mike?) that the tests used were common in Soviet psychology at the time. Were these tests basically IQ tests? If so, were they attached to the normal curve. Is it tests of this kind which LSV was thinking of with reference to independent problem solving and, if not, what kind of measure could he have been envisaging?
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