Re: [xmca] Did Franklin Participate in a Zoped?

From: Ana Marjanovic-Shane (
Date: Wed May 31 2006 - 04:13:53 PDT

Hi Althea and all,
I just wanted to make a small comment on this particular quote from your
if learning occurs
"... /that if learning occurs
when a child receives varied methods of assistance through joint
activity, then there is evidence of maturing psychological functions…
and therefore, evidence of zones of proximal development/."

I have always understood Vygotsky to say that development of "higher
psychological functions" (such as: memory, reasoning, will, etc) is not
a type of process which can be looked upon as "MATURATION" or simple
"GROWTH", but that it always happens through *restructuring the
relationships between different psychological functions*. In light of
that, the social interactive phase of development of either a particular
knowledge (math, history, science) or skill, or of the whole person, is
the starting phase in setting the blueprint (relationships, rules,
operations) for a new organization of psychological processes of what is
to become a new psychological function (knowledge, skill) or a new
psychological "stage" of development.
In that light, a child does not "receive various methods of assistance"
- but instead, enters into a new interactive system of relationships and
processes. Joint activity is one of the ways that child can enter,
explore and practice this new world in which there are new
objects/objectives, new relationships and new rules. Psychological
functions are not maturing in the zone of proximal development, they are
reorganizing and creating possibilities for new psychological functions,
i.e. new psychological acts and activities.


Althea Scott Nixon wrote:
> Thanks so much, Bill! Yes, Chaiklin offers positive definitions for
> the zone of proximal development. I re-read his piece to find what I
> think to be the most direct definition in the text. On p. 50, he
> writes: "Zone of proximal development is a way to refer to both the
> functions that are developing ontogenetically for a given age period
> (objective) and a child's current state of development in relation to
> the functions that ideally need to be realized (subjective). In this
> respect, the zone of proximal development is both a theoretical and an
> empirical discovery".
> Chaiklin explains that empirically, one can use imitation to assess
> the zone of proximal development. He reasons that if through
> collaboration, a child can understand (and not just copy) some
> activity then there is evidence of maturing psychological functions.
> Speaking of substituting different words, I wanted to substitute
> Chaiklin's use of "imitation" for a type of "learning" throughout his
> extended explanation of assessing zones of proximal development. I
> would therefore read his explanation to mean that if learning occurs
> when a child receives varied methods of assistance through joint
> activity, then there is evidence of maturing psychological functions…
> and therefore, evidence of zones of proximal development.
> Thanks for the quotes from Vygotsky and the Engestrom reference. I
> really liked the metaphor of learning as a voyage across the zone of
> proximal development.
> Althea
> On 5/29/06, bb <> wrote:
>> -------------- Original message ----------------------
>> From: "Althea Scott Nixon" <>
>> In short, zone of
>> > proximal development is not concerned with the development of skill of
>> > any particular task" (p. 43).
>> Hi Althea,
>> Nice provocative post!
>> Without having read Chaiklin, I'm relying upon your report of what he
>> wrote. Methodologically, this anti-formulation of zoped is
>> problematic for research and for assessment of learning and
>> development: Beside pushing zoped beyond the reach of observation,
>> this statement is only a "negative definition" i.e. there exists no
>> positive suggestion for what exactly does qualify as a zoped. So
>> maybe there is some more reading to do. Does Chaiklin offer
>> something positive?
>> As an opposing thought, Engesgtrom's treatment of zoped in 'learning
>> by expanding", chp 3., points out a functional orientation that,
>> while 'speaking to broader issues', <s> could quite possibly lead
>> to</s> has led to particulars:
>> 'According to Vygotsky, the zone of proximal development defines
>> those functions that will "mature tomorrow but are currently in an
>> embryonic state", i.e., the 'buds' of development (Vygotsky 1978,
>> 86). Vygotsky claimed that primates and other animals cannot have a
>> zone of proximal development. Human children, on the other hand, can
>> "go well beyond the limits of their own capabilities", they "are
>> capable of doing much more in collective activity" (Vygotsky 1978,
>> 88). '
>> Reading further in this chapter, one sees the differentiation of
>> zoped from pipes, bricks, and mortar, although excluding pipes,
>> bricks and mortar from a zoped <s>could also be</s> problematic. For
>> me "pipes, bricks and mortar" is an important choice of words,
>> because I remember many stories of my father, who left school after
>> 6th grade, to apprentice as a "hod carrier", on his way to becoming a
>> mason. Wikipedia offers a pithy definition.
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list

Ana Marjanovic'-Shane,Ph.D.

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