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Through their interactions they help each other

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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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