Re: [xmca] Empirical Support for the ZPD?

From: Wagner Schmit (
Date: Mon Oct 16 2006 - 03:04:15 PDT


I will answer your e-mail when i'm back from my work, but i study
Role-playing games, and i am very sure that ZDP happens on university
studentes too, because it is only a way to analyse the dialetic process of
development/learning... i hope i can express myself better with more time =/

and sorry for the bad english

Student of the Education Master Degree Program from Londrina State

On 10/16/06, david kellogg <> wrote:
> I'm a little leary of applying the ZPD to university students. It seems to
> me that Vygotsky intended to describe something rather specific to child
> development--the ability of learning to completely restructure the way the
> child learns. Not sure that happens at university level; alas, I'm quite
> sure it doesn't happen in my classroom.
> I HAVE been having a very cognitively restructuring discussion with Mike
> about the cross-species ZPD, though. Since inter-species communication is
> probably a specialized interest, we took this off-list. However, empirical
> support for the existence of a ZPD is obviously not a specialized interest,
> so Mike suggested we take things back to you.
> Rather than recapitulate our discussion of whether monkeys and people play
> really play together, I'd like to tout a paper co-authored with one of my
> grad students (to be published in Applied Linguistics in either March or
> June of next year).
> (I'm a little unclear about the legality of distributing the article
> pre-publication, but if people want I'll send it off line or I can somehow
> figure out how to store it in the classroom Zopeds section if I can square
> the editors.)
> The argument is roughly as follows. Ontogenetically, children appear to
> develop from rote babbling, to role-based play (such as "House") to
> rule-governed games. Microgenetically, language appears to develop from
> complex discourse (such as the explanation of rules or the assignment of
> roles, both of which take many, usually short, turns) to complex grammar (
> e.g. "So the student who has the most cards will win the game.")
> If we take the SAME group of fifth graders, and we play rule-based games
> with them, we'll find a "tall and thin" type of dicourse, because the
> children are really on the leading edge of their zone of proximal
> development, and new language is being inter-mentally co-constructed. In
> contrast, when we set them to role-play, we'll find a "short and fat" type
> of grammar, because the kids are externalizing already grammaticized
> language.
> That's exactly what we DO find: the same children rely on more "frozen
> pairs" ("Hi!" "Hi!"), more "preferred responses" ("How are you?" "Fine.")
> and more independent initiates ("Why do you say that?") in role plays. But
> in rule-based play there are more "melted pairs" ("How are you?"
> "Terrible!"), more dispreferred responses ("You are bad!") and more
> dependent initiates ("Why?"). So, rule-based games create taller, thinner,
> more inter-mental, vertical constructions, and role-based play creates a
> shorter, fatter, more intra-mental externalization of long horizontal
> constructions.
> Yes, I admit, the methodology is a little dodgy. In particular, it does
> appear to assume that cross sectional differences have developmental (and
> not simply cross sectional) significance. I know that it's not empirical
> PROOF of a ZPD. But I think it is empirical SUPPORT, something that suggests
> that the zoped is not simply a cute metaphor or a collective hallucination.
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> PS:
> A rather desperate question for the list. Van der Veer and Valsiner claim
> that Vygotsky always referred to the idea that intra-mental phenomena like
> grammar have an inter-mental origin such as discourse as "Janet's Law", in
> honor of Freud's nemesis, Pierre Janet. But here's the closest thing I've
> found. As you can see, it's not very close!
> "D'ailleurs, y-a-t-il une grande difference entre une function et une
> idee? La function est comme l'idee un systeme d'image associees etroitement
> les une avec les autres de maniere a pourvoir s' evoquer l'un l'autre. La
> seule difference, c'est qu'une function comme celle du language est un
> systeme beaucoup plus considerable que celui d'un idee, elle contient des
> millier de termes au lieu du petit nombre des images que nous avions reunie
> dans le polygone constitutive d'une idee. La seconde difference capitale
> c'est qu'une idee est un systeme recent que nous avons forme dans le cours
> de notre vie, tandis que la function est un vaste systeme etabli autrefois
> par nos ancetres. Une idee est une function qui commence, une function est
> une idee de nos ancetres qui a vielli."
> Janet, P. (1909) Les Nevroses. Paris: Flammarion. P. 87
> Does anybody have a better quote or a more precise place to look? Janet's
> writing is voluminous, but almost entirely clinical, as far as I can tell!
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