May 8th, at 9am Pacific Standard Time
For our next coffee hour, our guest will be Anna Shvarts, University of Utrecht, who will discuss two papers that investigate the historical origins and a possible theoretical perspective on the concepts of scaffolding and semiotic mediation. She and her colleagues bridge a cultural-historical approach, developed by Vygotsky, and a coordination dynamics approach, grounded in the ideas of Nikolai Bernstein, and show how those fields were historically intertwined. The notions of body-artifacts, functional systems, and intercorporeal functional systems allow us to explain the processes of semiotic mediation and scaffolding as material practices in the ecological, cultural environment of the human species. Our functional dynamic systems is monist in that it aims to avoid the ontological gap between body and mind. It sketches an explanation of teaching/learning motor skills and mathematics as essentially the same practices.
We are hoping that Anna’s co-authors, Arthur Bakker and Dor Abrahamson will be able to attend, making for a rich discussion.
It is our custom to ask participants to send me a question and/or comment based on either or both of the texts. We are a heterogeneous group and your feedback is important for ensuring that the discussion is as inclusive as possible. Please send your feedback a few days before we meeting with a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org with a cc to Mariela Madriz Quiros at MARIELA.MADRIZQUIROS@ucr.ac.cr.
Anna Shvarts & Arthur Bakker (2019). The early history of the scaffolding metaphor: Bernstein, Luria, Vygotsky, and before. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 26 :1, 4-23.
Anna Shvarts & Don Abrahamson (2023). Coordination Dynamics of Semiotic Mediation: A Functional Dynamic Systems Perspective on Mathematics Teaching/Learning. Constructivist Foundations.
Barbara Rogoff (1982). Integrating Context and Cognitive Development. In Advances in Developmental Psychology 2, M.E. Lamb & A.L. Brown (eds.). Hillsdale, NY: Erlbaum.
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Pretend play is a collaboration creating ZPDs, whether for children or adults.
Scaffolding is not a collaboration, but a system of support provided by the MKO.
There can be scaffolding within pretend play when a play partner more knowledgeable
in some area, provides verbal guidance and/or models an activity. But if one play partner
becomes the ‘director’ dictating the play narrative, it is not play any more. Even games with
formal rule systems, allow some spontaneity (novel unexpected actions).
For example, in American football the quarterback runs down the field and scores a touchdown. Or in basketball, the tallest player throws the ball to the shortest team mate who makes the winning shot. Creativity.
What is it about the collaboration that makes play a zoped? I am still missing that.
I have witnessed 7 year olds playing school with 3-4 year olds where the older is teacher
and the younger 2 are (novice) students in which it seems very much like a play situation for all participants. Not possible?
Scaffolding is focusing on operations more than activities or activity in the sense of activity theory; but operations or activities only make sense in activities; is the child interested in what he is doing (if it’s a piano it’s a piano but does he play what he likes, what does he want?); scaffolding or tuning? Is scaffolding even possible with an activity? The activity is more in the nature of tuning; mutual adjustment.
I have difficulty understanding conceptul change in terms of operations
A major new issue for me to think about is the need to figure out how play creates a zone of proximal development for small children and also for adults, hence Henry’s category of adult play
How are we best to understand why the concept of scaffolding seems inapplicable go the child case but not the adult? No more competent other in child play to scaffold??
Great discussion today. As noted at the end of the session, I would appreciate a followup discussion that took up the culture/context/cognitive development issue. If I get enough “likes” to this idea, I will seek to schedule it.
How about scaffolding in early childhood imaginary play? Vygotsky defined the ZPD in play differently… One can use the term scaffolding only metaphorically, but we try not to use it.
Both are very profound and exciting articles. I enjoyed reading them. I found the texts extremely relevant to educational practice. I love the idea „of teacher-student or adult–child functional system that is constituted in an accomplishment of some task“ extremely important, as well as the idea „of intrasubjective self-scaffolding as self-regulation that follows
the fading of intersubjective scaffolding by an adult.“ These ideas remind me of the writings of Galina Zuckerman.
However, I must take a deep breath when thinking about creating interactions of this level of sensitivity in everyday pedagogical work.
Could the authors elaborate on the idea from page 19:
„We also claim that scaffolding within ZPD may trigger the developmental process and lead to qualitative change much later, when a skill or a concept acquired through teaching/learning would undergo a further developmental change.“?
Will this save?