Re: [xmca] Empirical Support for the ZPD?

From: Emily Duvall (
Date: Mon Oct 16 2006 - 19:24:54 PDT

Hi David,
I must admit some confusion with your comments. I'm not sure I
understand why you would see the activity of learning, which precedes
development, as the same thing. Yes, there is a process underway which
is the activity that is the zpd, in which both are implicated, but if
you do not see them in 'realtionship' to each other then do you see them
as apart? I would wonder what learning is without development and how
development occurs without learning? Conceptualizing them as 'things'
may be part of the difficulty?
I'm also not sure that I understand how language development comes to an
end if there is a connection between language, history and culture. I am
also not sure what you mean by language mastery in this context. Perhaps
it is the framework in which we understand Vygotsky's work? I see his
work more broadly as an explanation of human development rather than a
theory of teaching and learning. As such, Vygotsky presents to me a way
of understanding what it is to be human.
~ Em

Kellogg wrote:

>Dear Em:
>I agree that the crux of the problem is the relationship of learning to development.
>The problem is that if you say that learning does not take place outside the ZPD, it appears that learning and development are the same thing after all. So there is no relationship between the two things, simply because there are not two things, but only one.
>I agree in theory that development never ends (and that death is, at least in evolutionary terms, a form of development). But that is only true from the point of view of evolution. From the point of view of ontogenesis, death most certainly is the end.
>Language development too comes to a virtual halt, at least in terms of grammatical learning. This is not only true of my learning of a foreign language; it is even more true of my mastery of my own language.
>I think that Vygotsky did not end his work with child development, or even begin there. He really wanted to link FOUR things: evolution, sociocultural history, child development, and learning. He considered that Darwin and Marx had more or less provided a theory that explained and even linked the first two.
>He probably initially thought that people like Bekhterev, or Kornilov, or later Piaget could account well enough for the third, and he really dreamed of devoting his whole short life to teaching and learning.
>But I think he soon found that the psychology of the time was profoundly non-developmental and quite inadequate to provide a foundation for the description of teaching and learning. So instead of becoming the Marx of microgenesis, he had to transform himself into the Darwin of ontogenesis. And that is OUR tragedy--because today we still have that huge gap when it comes to understanding the specific link between ontogenesis and microgenesis.
>It won't do to say that microgenesis is really the same thing as ontogenesis. That's essentially what Piaget said, and that's what got LSV started.
>David Kellogg
>Seoul National University of Education
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