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

From: David H Kirshner (
Date: Wed May 31 2006 - 09:51:15 PDT

Can someone please provide a citation for Chaiklin's article? I've found it
at the XMCA website, but with no indication of its source.
David Kirshner

                      "Althea Scott
                      Nixon" To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
                      <althea.nixon@gma <>
            > cc: (bcc: David H Kirshner/dkirsh/LSU)
                      Sent by: Subject: Re: [xmca] Did Franklin Participate in a Zoped?
                      05/31/2006 02:10
                      Please respond to
                      nixon; Please
                      respond to
                      "eXtended Mind,

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.


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
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Althea Scott Nixon
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