Monday, March 28, 2011

I keep trying...

I know this may be boring to some, but I am still working on the sketch of the concept of scaffolding, and needed to add one more point, that of what Vygotsky's 1978 concept, "zpd" or zone of proximal development, "the zone of activity in which a person can produce with assistance what they cannot produce alone (or can only produce with difficulty)." My own zones of proximal development become clear in a variety of areas in my life. On the internet, I am dependent on my computer, my wireless internet server, the vast array of network connections, and the whole range of service providers that take what I type and share it with you. In my woodshop, I have tools, materials, and space which in association with what I've learned and the skills I've garnered allow me to make what I make. In schools, you can see that the zpd of students is only partly what comes from within the child. As a pottery student in 1974, I knew that there were things that I could do at school with clay and firing equipment provided that could only be done outside of school after overcoming a mountain of resistance, that of acquiring those materials and equipment, along with even greater expertise to manage them.

Vygotsky's zone of proximal development is the space noted within the scaffold, the circumstances provided by technology, mentoring, the child's prior experience and the culture of inquiry, supporting learning and growth.
"The specialization of the hand-this implies the tool, and the tool implies specific human activity, the transforming reaction of man on nature...the animal merely uses external nature, and brings about changes in it simply by his presence; man, by his changes, makes it serve his ends, masters it. This is the final, essential distinction between man and other animals."--Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky

Today in the Clear Spring School wood shop, the 4th, 5th and 6th grade students made weather vanes. When they were complete, of course the children needed to run and test them in the wind outside the wood shop as shown.The high school students helped me to clean the wood shop to prepare for visitors from the University of Arkansas and began work on business card holders as an economics exercise.

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