Friday, September 3, 2010

Intermental Development Zone

Following Vygotsky's concept of Zone of Proximal development [ZPD], Fernandez, Wegerif, Mercer and Rojas-Drummond introduce the concept of the Intermental Development Zone [IDZ]. 

ZPD - When a non-expert works with an expert (so a child with a teacher), this concept refers to the zone in which the non-expert can achieve more with help from the expert than they could have without it. Often accompanied by the concept of Scaffolding; a teacher may set up a frame in which a child can lead and progress their cognitive development.

4 stages of ZPD (From Mercer and Littleton... I can provide full references if anyone is interested)
1 capable other scaffolds for the student
2 the student takes over scaffolding
3 task activity becomes automatic
4 can return to previous stages 1 or 2

The emphasis however is on cognitive development

‘…The zpd is now seen as providing a way of conceptualizing the many ways in which an individual’s development may be assisted by other members of a culture, both in face-to-face interaction and through the legacy of artefacts that they have created.’ (Gordon Wells in Dialogic Inquiry in Education: Building on the Legacy of Vygotsky

But ZPD as a concept is too static. The expert and non-expert create a space for communication (Mercer and Littleton) IDZ embraces how teacher and learner embrace changing states. It focusses on the nature of communicative processes.

IDZ - ' represented in talk by references to shared experience, but can also be sustained by tacit invocations of common knowledge.' (Littleton & Mercer)

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