From: Eugene Matusov
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Date: 20 Nov 1996
Week 9. Readings due November 25 (part II below; read at least one paper)
Topic 5. How can learning and development be conceptualized? What is relationship between learning and development? How does informal and everyday learning differ from traditional school learning?
Rationale for the topic: We expect you to be working on your final research papers these weeks, so we suggest you to read the following theoretical and conceptual papers on the relationship between learning and development, a sociocultural approach to studying development, the notions of ZPD and leading activities, and the concept of situated cognition.
Vygotsky, L. (1987). Mind in society. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. --Chapter 6: "Interaction between learning and development." & Chapter 7: "The Role of Play in Development."
1) What is Vygotsky's stand on the relationship between learning and development?
2) Why did Vygotsky reject the theories that argue that a) learning follows development, b) learning is development, and c) combination of the two?
3) What did you learn about generality and specificity of learning?
4) What were Vygotsky's reasons to introduce the ZPD?
5) What was Vygotsky's claim about the difference between apes and humans? What is the relationship between the ZPD and imitation?
6) How does Vygotsky's notion of the ZPD helps to organize learning for mentally retarded children?
7) What is the relationship between reality and play and between rule and imagination, according to Vygotsky? How do object, action, and meaning link in play and in the reality? Why do children play?
8) Why did Vygotsky say that play is not symbolic?
9) What is the development of play? Why did Vygotsky call play as "leading activity" for preschool children? What is play for older children? What are their leading activity?
Lave, J. (1992). Word problems: A microcosm of theories of learning. In P. Light & G. Butterworth (Eds.), Context and cognition: Ways of learning and knowing (pp. 74-92). New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
1) What is the difference between everyday math and traditional school math?
2) What is the difference between a whole-person dilemma and a performance-display hypothetical puzzle?
3) Why does traditional school push for a performance-display hypothetical puzzle?
4) What is a whole-person dilemma for many children in traditional school and how it relates to math?
5) Why is not a good idea to "everyday" school math?
6) What kind of reforms does Lave see necessary for school and why?