Unformatted text preview: lem solving and the zone of proximal development.
Collaborative problem solving is a second way to conceptualize skill and strategy
learning within the zone of proximal development. In this case, the idea of
scaffolding by a more skilled learner is replaced by the ideas of two learners
collaborating together to accomplish a goal (Wells, 1999). For example, two
students may work together as partners to help each other understood the meaning
of a text. Through their interactions, they help each other develop new
understandings or skills. This type of interaction is referred to as mutual or
collective scaffolding (Donato, 1994; De Guerrero & Villamill, 2000). 33 Classrooms as Socio-Cultural Contexts
Earlier in this chapter, we discussed Vygotsky’s view of development as
the internalization of cultural tools, and we discussed how the nature of a society
or culture will determine the types of cultural tools that develop. This perspective
has been extended to classrooms (Cobb, Wood & Yackel, 1993; Engeström, 1996;
Moll & Whitmore, 1993; Palincsar, Brown, & Campione, 1993). Classrooms can
be viewed as communities or cultures, and learning can be viewed as
enculturation. The ways in which classrooms are structured can affect the types of
interactions students have and the types of psychological tools they internalize.
For example, Campione and Brown (1994) have described a model of classroom
teaching called Community of Learners. The classroom is structured like an
effective research community where students conduct research, consult with peers
and adult resources, and present their findings to the community for review. The
classroom is structured to help students acquire a number of learning and research
tools that will help them become life-long learners.
The Zone of Proximal Development and Assessment
Interpreters of Vygotsky’s ideas have generally agreed that he intended the
zone of proximal development (ZPD) as both an assessment and an instructional
idea (Campione, 1996; Campione, Brown, Ferrara & Bryant, 1984; Daniels, 1996;
Phillips, 1977; Wertsch, 1990). When Vygotsky was the Director of the Institute
of Pedagogy he became concerned about the use of standardized ability tests to 34 assess students’ potential to learn (Griffin & Cole, 1984). Although these tests
were useful for assessing students’ independent functioning level, they were
inadequate for differentiating between students who had achieved the same
independent functioning level but who had different learning potentials (Luria,
1961). For example, imagine that two students have achieved the same score on
an individually administered standardized test. One student has had limited access to formal schooling, while the other has had full access to formal
schooling. Their scores on the standardized test may reveal what they
accomplished under these circumstances, but may not accurately assess their
potential to learn when they are both provided with similar access to instruction.
To assess learning potential m...
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- Spring '08
- Theory of cognitive development, Lev Semenovich Vygotsky