VYGOTSKY AND THE ZONE OF PROXIMAL DEVELOPMENT (ZPD ). 21 January 2010. Vygotsky: Revolutionary Scientist and Educator Key Ideas Human behavior and cultural development take place in and through activity with other people.
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21 January 2010
Knowledge is constructed through solving problems that arise in joint activity in the present; knowledge is only meaningful and useful when it is used as a tool for further activity.
The zone of proximal development is the difference between what a child can do alone and what s/he can do with help from a more expert other:
“What a child can do today with help, tomorrow s/he will be able to do alone.”
Learning in the zpd is what drives development. “Learning awakens a variety of internal developmental processes that are able to operate only when the child is interacting with people in his/her environment and in cooperation with his/her peers.”
“Learning (& Teaching) is only good when it proceeds ahead of development … [it then] awakens and rouses to life those functions which are in a stage of maturing.”
(All quotes are from Chap. 6 of Thinking and Speech (Vygotsky 1934/1987)
Who we become depends on the company we keep and what we do and say together.
There is a lot of apprenticeship education going on in Southwestern Native communities, whether in farming,pottery or jewelry There are still multigenerational families known for their excellence in some of these crafts. The transmission of skills in these domains requires observational as well as verbal teaching/learning. The underdevelopment of observational skills in most Westernized schools by their frequent exclusive focus on verbal teaching is a questionable practice. It narrows the curriculum, the role of parents as contributors to education and learners' preparation for laboratory sciences.Including observational learning in our theories and curriculum is hard to achieve in these times of narrow, test-driven education, but these limitations are part of the challenges that fuel the energy of xmca participants.
Why was Jeannie so “undeveloped”?
What is the best way to gauge a person’s ZPD?
Is “mentoring” always successful?
How can teaching be equitable for all students?
Does learning/knowing several languages help development?
How practical is Vygotsky’s theory in middle and high schools?
We spent much of November and December learning about how rocks are put together.We've spent the first half of January learning about how rocks fall apart. Chemical weathering is fun to watch in the classroom -- we have been mercilessly wearing down perfectly fine limestone and marble with little drips of acid. The kids can do this at home with vinegar or lemon juice of course, but teachers can demonstrate this type of chemical weathering with hydrochloric acid, which is lots more fun. Acid causes immediate fizzing and bubbling when dropped onto rocks which contain calcite, the mineral form of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Limestone and marble are rich in calcite, because they are made of the crushed remnants of marine shells, the source of the calcium carbonate. Large limestone deposits in the Earth's crust often develop extensive cave systems as slightly acidic groundwater seeps through the rocks and dissolves them bit by bit. Much of the Santa Cruz mountain system is rich in limestone, and not surprisingly, one can find some great caves back in the hills on this part of the coast.
The kids learned two interesting chemical equations that are involved with chemical weathering.
H2O + CO2 --> H2CO3 Carbonic acid is a mild acid which is always present in groundwater. CaCO3 + 2HCl --> CaCl2 + H2O + CO2ﾊ This is one way to cause chemical weathering in limestone and marble.
Another type of weathering is caused by physical forces such as water, wind, gravity, and ice.ﾊ In this case, rocks are worn down into smaller versions of the same rocks. Boulders, pebbles, sand, and mud are some of the results of physical weathering. Water is a powerful erosional agent, and not only does it efficiently break down rock, but it transports the resulting sediment for huge distances.
The sixth graders and I have been discussing in great detail the mechanics of erosion and sediment transport over the last two weeks. We began by creating three-dimensional paper models of rivers, showing the various morphological features of rivers with regard to gradient and channel geometry. Fast rivers flowing from snowmelt high in the mountains can carve out deep V-shaped valleys due to the water's high energy. Rivers create deltas and floodplains as their gradients flatten out towards the ocean: flow rate slows down, and channels become shallow and sediment-filled. The accompanying photos show one of our stream days in the classroom. We had eight stream tables going during each class, and the kids were able to watch river valleys form as they manipulated variables such as gradient and the rate of water flow. We also collected samples of sediment along the river channels in order to observe whether our little streams showed "graded bedding," where sediment spreads out in order of size. As you can imagine, a day playing with sand and water was a big hit. Everyone seemed to feel that we need many more days like that in Room 37!
Now we have shifted our attention to beaches: how they are made, and what lives on and near them. Do you know any surfers who might like to come talk to a class or two about waves and what makes a good break? Let me know, and we'll clear a spot in our schedule for a guest speaker. Thanks!
For further ideas, see How People Learn, chapters 6 & 7.