Proximal Processes (classroom episode)

Bildung 2020

Urie Bronfenbrenner's Bioecological Model Of Development (WIKI))
Proximal processes are at the heart of figure 1 and figures 4 a and b.  The first excerpt at the right should be studied carefully.  The concept of proximal processes represents an invaluable further advance in our understanding of the development of situated organisms (not Cartesian selves), and a further development of the thinking associated with Vygotsky (ZPD: Zone of Proximal Development).  The excerpt from Ceci (On Intelligence) provides a conceptual framework for interpreting a variety of texts, interviews, videos, etc. wherein can be seen these very processes unfolding.  The article by Bruner is included because there is a tendency among my Vygotskian associates to see Piaget as somehow antithetical to Vygotsky.  Bruner provides a necessary corrective.  Genovese and Orton show how useful Piaget’s work remains, despite the justified criticism of its ahistorical, Cartesian character.

Franzos (“Schiller in Barnow”) and Munro (“Family Furnishings”) are works of fiction.  In "Schiller in Barnow" Franzos shows "how, in the spirit of Enlightenment universalism, a love of Schiller brings together members of three oppressed groups: the Jew Israel Meisels, the unhappy monk Fransiscus (a victim of clerical tyranny), and the Ruthenain schoolmaster Basil Woyczuk.  Their favourite Schiller text, appropriately, is the 'Ode to Joy' . . . with its appeal to all humanity to join in an embrace." Intro, p, 111  Alcorn's Narcissism and the Literary Libido is an incredible study that takes us into the heart of Figure 1, Bildungsproletarians and Plebeian Upstarts.  Schiller Hall in Detroit should be viewed as a radical salon. 

Munro, on the other hand,  provides a portait of a deadly, stultifying existential domain (the dinner table).  There are millions of such deadly proximal zones, where the potential for cogntive development is crushed.  The Sunderland and Johnson videos provide isights into two such Proximal zones:


Something is happening to cognitive performativity (which always includes the arenas and purposes of such performativity, as well as context
ff and audience) more broadly in the United States.  It is not just Donald Trump who talks like a fourth-grader.


The Social Origins of Language

Stephen J. Ceci,
On Intelligence: A Bioecological Treatise on Intellectual Development (Harvard, 1996)

 . . . it is time to ask about the nature of the resources responsible for intellectual growth.  . . . .  In a recent article Uri Bronfenbrenner and I proposed specific mechanisms of organism-environment interaction, called proximal processes, through which genetic potentials for intelligence are actualized.  We described research evidence from a variety of sources demonstrating that proximal processes operate in a variety of settings throughout the life-course (beginning in the family and continuing in child-care settings, peer groups, schools, and work places), and account for more of the variation in intellectual outcome than the environmental contexts (e.g., family structure, SES, culture) in which these proximal processes take place.  Proximal processes refer to sustained interactions between a developing organism and the persons, symbols, and activities in its immediate environment.  To be effective, these processes must become progressively more complex and interactive over time." 244-5

Jerome Bruner (1997), "Celebrating Divergence: Piaget and Vygotsky," Human Development, 40(2), 63–73.

Jeremy E. C. Genovese, "Piaget, Pedagogy, and Evolutionary Psychology" (Evolutionary Psychology, Volume 1, 2003)

from Anthony Orton, Learning Mathematics: Issues, Theory, and Classroom Practice (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004)

Nevertheless, the terminology 'concrete operations', 'formal operations', is still apparently found to be useful by those reporting on empirical research, and by many who write about child development and curriculum reform.  p.68

Karl Emil Franzos, "Schiller in Barnow" (1876), in The German Jewish Dialogue: An Anthology of Literary Texts, 1749-1993, Ritchie Robertson, ed. (Oxford University Press, 1999)

Marshall W. Alcorn, Jr., Narcissism and the Literary Libido: Rhetoric, Text, and Subjectivity (New York University Press, 1994)

interview of Saul Wellman (CP Flint) by Peter Friedlander

 Reginald Zelnick, Workers and Intelligentsia in Late Imperial Russia (University of California Press, 1999)

John Dupré, "Causality and Human Nature in the Social Sciences," in Processes of Life: Essays in the Philosophy of Biology (Oxford, 2012)

Garrison to Frankfurter (Allis-Chalmers)

Interview of Cliff Williams

S.A. Smith, Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History (Cambridge Univesity Press, 2008)

schiller hall text and photo
Rita Johnson

Janice Sunderland

Alice Munro, "Family Furnishings," in Family Furnishings: Selected Stories, 1995-2014 (Knopf, 2014)

Mercer L. Sullivan, "Getting paid": youth crime and work in the inner city (Cornell Univesity Press, 1989)

Carl Husemoller Nightingale, On the edge: a history of poor black children and their American dreams  (Basic Books, 1993)

Zena Smith Blau, Black children/white children: competence, socialization, and social structure (Free Press, 1981)

bildungs proletarian(s) and plebian upstarts in Michigan Steel Tube (UAW Local 238)