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VYGOTSKY AND AGENCY IN LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT Praha 2007 Jyrki Reunamo Marja Nurmilaakso Department of Applied Sciences of Education, UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI.

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Presentation on theme: "VYGOTSKY AND AGENCY IN LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT Praha 2007 Jyrki Reunamo Marja Nurmilaakso Department of Applied Sciences of Education, UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI."— Presentation transcript:

1 VYGOTSKY AND AGENCY IN LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT Praha 2007 Jyrki Reunamo Marja Nurmilaakso Department of Applied Sciences of Education, UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI

2 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki Vygotsky describes the first continuum as extending from the interpsycholocical to intrapsychological Every function of the child`s cultural development appears twice: first, on the social level and later, on the individual level I INTRODUCTION

3 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki THE INTERPSYCHOLOGICAL VS. INTRAPSYCHOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES INTERPSYCHOGICAL: 1. Social level 2. The attention is guided by external stimuli 3. External signs needed for thinking and language tools

4 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki The content of thinking act is determined by concrete memory recollections 5. The signs are presented or attached as external forms as activity Concrete spontaneous concepts have no distance from the immediate experience

5 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki INTRAPSYCHOLOGICAL 1. Individual level 2. The child begins to master his attention, freeing him or her to reconstruct the perceptive field 3. External stimuli can be used as an instrument for organizing the task

6 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki The content of memory recollections is guided by the thinking process, e.g. logical relations 5. The activity is turning inward, gradually becomming inner functions 6. Eventually scientific concepts organised into a system of generalized relations

7 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki CULTURAL PRODUCTS VS. CULTURAL PRODUCTION Vygotsky extends from using cultural products to the production of culture Activities with culture products includes for example something that already exists or something that facilitates the adaptation to the word Culture products are something that already exists

8 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki Creating new content means combinatorial or creative behaviour Culture as a product of human imagination and creation Productive imagination

9 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki Galperin: The ability of looking ahead (orientation) is a precondition for and even a prime aspects of learning Vygotsky`s ideas of language development can been arranged according to social and agentive continuums: 1) Actual, 2) Proximal, 3) Instrumental and 4) Producing THE AGENTIVE NATURE OF CHILDREN`S ACTIONS

10 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki ACTUAL DEVELOPMENT Development is intrapsychogical and language is seen as cultural product, as signs and meaning According to Vygotsky the level can be called the actual developmental level, that is, the level of development of a child`s mental functions that has beeb established as a result of certain already completed developmental cycles

11 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki PROXIMAL DEVELOPMENT The developmental aspects are interpsychological and language is seen as something that can be learned with assistance of others The zone of proximal development: an educator can elaborate on the act and give support and direction for the process

12 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki INSTRUMENTAL TOOLS The development is intrapsychological and the focus of the development is on the cultural production, whereby language is seen as a tool for personal, social and cultural production According to Vygotsky, while at 18 months of age, the child makes discovery that everything has a name

13 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki PRODUCING NEW CULTURAL TOOLS This type of development is interpsychological and the focus is on producing cultural tools When interpersonal, these new developments become new cultural tools The collective work depends on cultural conditions. Vygotsky: the historical or social experience allows us to venture beyond our own experiences

14 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki II METHODS The research problem has been: What pedagogical cues do different language development functions produce? The short excerpts of children`s talk come from previous research

15 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki The four theoretical aspects described earlier were orationalized into four questions: Actual development: What kind of ideas come to mind when you think about the child`s language skills? What could you do to figure out the child`s actual level of language development? Give an example

16 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki Proximal development: In what way could the discussion be deepened to help the child look at the situation from different perspectives? How could you help the child to advance in his or her view? Give an example

17 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki Language as a tool for individual change: What possible motives could the child have to answer the way he or she does? What could the child`s objective be in the situation? How could you find out the objective? Give an example

18 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki Language as a tool for cultural production: What consequences do the children`s descriptions have? In what way do children`s views and actions advance the situation at hand? What happens next?

19 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki Altogether 80 students in their second year of studies took part in the research in February 2007 All student teachers studied in the University of Helsinki The students were arranged into four groups, where each studied on of the questions

20 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki All students were presented with the same seven excerpts of children`s talk, but different groups were asked to consider childrens`s talk from only one of the four different perspectives In this way, it was possible to study the differences the four views produced as the educational settings remained same The data was analysed by content analysis

21 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki III RESULTS Altogether there were 544 answers regarding the seven short talk situations Examples of results:

22 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki Examples of the four orientations on a peer to peer situation: Adult: Your friend does not agree to play with you. What do you do? Child: I get fully out of play. Some other time back

23 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki Table 1. Examples of the four orientations on a peer to peer situation Adult: Your friend does not agree to play with you. What do you do? Child: I get fully out of play. Some other time back. Instrumental tools “The child does not know how to negotiate with the other child; rather she or he finds it better to withdraw totally. She wants to try again later with better luck.” Producing tools “The child does not necessarily get upset; she or he just gets a new friend to play with.” Actual development “The child understood the question and was able to answer it. The second clause is insufficient; who is coming back?” Proximal development “We could consider other play alternatives or the possibility to take part in the play.”

24 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki Table 2. Examples of the four orientations in a situation of conflict Adult: Somebody comes to tease you. What do you do? Child: Then I did almost nothing. Instrumental tools “The child looks at the situation from his or her own point of view. It is hard for him or her to imagine the situation further and his own actions. The child lives in the present. A strategy to deal with the situation by answering something that does not provoke continuation.” Producing tools “A pity! The teaser, on the other hand, can find the other as ignorant and the teasing stops. Something totally different can happen too!” Actual development “Here the child is not capable of using tenses and the structure of the talk is not logical.” Proximal development “I would discuss the child’s feeling in the situation – How do you feel when somebody teases you? I would try to bring the child into contact with his or her feelings and that way start to talk about what should be done in the situation.”

25 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki IV DISCUSSION Different views on learning have different consequences for teaching The teacher looking at children`s actual development is parallel to that of the ”traditional” teacher Here, a ”proper” language quite independent of the child or teacher seems to exist

26 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki The teacher concentrating on the proximal development resembles the constructivist teacher The tension is between children`s abilities and the level the children can reach with the help of a more capable adult or peer Looking at children`s language as instrumental tools seems to be encourage childcentred teaching

27 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki Concentration on tools production seems to evoke teaching along the lines of Reggio Emilia Pedagogical views are deeply rooted in the functions of the basic understanding of early childhood learning These roles also call for a new interpretation for children`s use and learning of language

28 Jyrki Reunamo & Marja Nurmilaakso University of Helsinki Language is not just the means of communication or undersatnding; it is also an ingredient in cultural production


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