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Fifty-four per cent of 41 chronically institutionalized adult patients with epilepsy had ataxia of gait (wide mean stride width). None of the following correlated with stride width: serum phenytoin, previous phenytoin toxicity, seizure frequency, or status epilepticus. Seventeen of the 41 patients had computed tomographic head scans. Patients with radiological evidence of cerebellar atrophy had a wider mean stride width, later age of onset of seizures, greater peak serum concentrations of phenytoin than did those without cerebellar atrophy. Ataxia of gait was inconsistently associated with cerebellar atrophy. Elevated serum/plasma concentrations of phenytoin may be a risk factor for cerebellar atrophy, but seizure frequency or status epilepticus are not independently related to this complication.
What can Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) contribute to the solution of the problems facing higher education today? This edited volume brings together the work of an international group of scholars and researchers to address this important question. Drawing on contemporary interpretations of CHAT, the contributors take on a wide range of issues, ranging from pedagogy to administration and from teacher preparation to university outreach. An introduction presents the key principles of CHAT. Subsequent chapters address such issues as effective ways of teaching large undergraduate classes, providing support for struggling writers or for students with disabilities, opening up opportunities for students from historically underserved communities, preparing students for the professions, and building bridges between higher education and the wider community. Readers with an interest in higher education will encounter ideas in these chapters that will prompt them to rethink their role in preparing today's students for tomorrow's challenges.
The first lots of asparagus received at processing terminals in the Shelby, Michigan area in May of 1959, were heavily contaminated with case-bearer larvae of the family Coleophoridae. Various methods were unsuccessful in an endeavor to dislodge the larvae from the spears. As a result, a detailed investigation was initiated to ascertain the origin, life history, and possible control of this insect.
An attempt is made to explain how the child comes to relate his acquisition of the form of language with the categories that he is establishing in the organization of his non-linguistic experience, by hypothesizing a basis for language in pre-linguistic cognitive development. The child's task is seen as being to match the organization of language with the cognitive organization that he has already imposed upon his experience. This is made possible, it is argued, because the organization of meaning within the language system is closely related to the universal categories of early experience. Evidence from recordings of a small sample of children in the early stages of language acquisition is advanced in support of this hypothesis, and the results of the linguistic analysis are discussed in the light of findings from the Genevan school of developmental psychology.
Samples of the speech addressed by adults to a socially representative sample of 2-year-olds in naturally occurring contexts of interaction were analysed with respect to syntactic, semantic, pragmatic and discourse features to determine which features were most strongly associated with gain by the children on a variety of measures of language development over the ensuing 9 months. Following a principal components analysis of the adult speech variables, the most highly loading variables on the first six components were correlated with children's gain scores. Polar interrogatives, directives and extending utterances were all found to be associated with at least one measure of development. The results are if interpreted as evidence of reciprocal, rather than one-way facilitation.
It is now more than a quarter of a century since the study reported in the first edition of this book was completed. Nevertheless, to the best of my knowledge, no study of comparable scale has since been carried out that casts doubt on the original findings. I shall therefore retain most of the earlier chapter. However, I shall take the opportunity, in the final part of the current chapter, to say something about the collaborative action research with classroom teachers in which I have recently been engaged in the attempt to create richer opportunities for children to construct knowledge together through more dialogic forms of classroom interaction.
It has always been assumed that language plays a major role in formal education. And with good reason. Most of what is taught in schools is transmitted either through teachers' oral presentation or through textbooks and reference works, and when assessments of educational attainment are made they are typically made through the medium of questions and answers in either the spoken or the written mode. It seems self‐evident, therefore, that to succeed in school a pupil must have an adequate command of the linguistic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
Although correct as far as it goes, such a concept of the role of language in education is seriously misleading, since it leaves out of account the essentially interactive nature of linguistic communication.
A recurring theme of the Late Bronze Age is the apparent association between deliberate deposition of material and wet places. Recently, a human skull has been discovered within the basal sediments of a relict mire at Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, dating to the later Bronze Age (c. 1250–840 cal BC). The find, which belonged to a c. 25–35 year old male, was located within a layer of silty wood peat elm deep, representing the ancient root system of a hazel copse and containing many hazelnuts and some charcoal. Palaeopathological investigation established the likelihood that the skull had decomposed before deposition and there are strong parallels between the find and its context and other prehistoric skulls recorded from British wetlands. The connection of the human remains with considerable amounts of hazel wood may also be of significance when viewed within the wider context of similar associations recorded from European bog-bodies. During the course of excavation and survey of the site worked wood fragments were recovered indicating both human and animal (beaver) activity, dating to the later Bronze Age and Early Iron Age respectively. The stratigraphic sequence indicated that organic sedimentation resulted from the rapid flooding of a formerly relatively dry landscape, perhaps as a result of the effects of beaver damming – a possibility which may hold wider implications for the archaeological interpretation of prehistoric pollen data.
The centrality of language has run like a leitmotiv through the exploration of knowing and knowledge in the preceding chapter. Here I want to focus on it more directly, first by setting out the arguments for treating it as the very essence of education and, second, by considering in more detail the relationship between discourse and knowing. I shall then consider some of the implications of the preceding arguments for the discourse through which so many of the daily practices of learning and teaching are enacted in the classroom. Briefly, I shall propose that classrooms should become communities of inquiry, in which the curriculum is seen as being created emergently in the many modes of conversation through which teacher and students dialogically make sense of topics of individual and social significance, through action, knowledge building and reflection.
The Role of Language in Human Development
Vygotsky's contribution to our understanding of the central role of language in human development has already been spelled out in some detail in Chapter. It rests on the fruitful analogy he drew between material artifacts and signs: both function as tools to mediate joint, productive activity. Viewed in this way, language and other semiotic systems can be thought of as “psychological tools” that, through their inclusion in activity, radically transform participants' orientations both to the material situation and to their coparticipants.
From a phylogenetic perspective, we have already seen this transformative effect in the account that was offered, in Chapter 2, of the emergence of the different modes of knowing in the evolution from primate to contemporary humans.
A Social Constructivist Model of Learning and Teaching
Vygotskian theory suggests that the principal goal of education is to provide an environment in which students, however diverse their background, engage collaboratively in productive, purposeful activities which enable them to:
take over the culture's tool-kit of skills, knowledge and values so that they are able to participate effectively in the practices of the larger society
develop the disposition to act creatively, responsibly and reflectively in achieving their own potential and constructing a personal identity
These aims seem most likely to be achieved by:
Creating a classroom community which shares a commitment to caring, collaboration, and a dialogic mode of making meaning
Organizing the curriculum in terms of broad themes for inquiry that encourage a willingness to wonder, to ask questions, and to collaborate with others in building knowledge, both practical and theoretical, to answer them
Negotiating goals that:
challenge students to develop their interests and abilities
are sufficiently open-ended to elicit alternative possibilities for consideration
involve the whole person – feelings, interests, personal and cultural values, as well as cognition
provide multiple opportunities to master the culture's tools and technologies through purposeful use
encourage both collaborative group work and individual effort;
give equal value to thoughtful processes and excellent products.
Ensuring that there are occasions for students to:
use a variety of modes of representation as tools for achieving joint and individual understanding
present their work to others and receive critical, constructive feedback
reflect on what they have learned, both individually and as a community
receive guidance and assistance in their zones of proximal development.
There can be little doubt that, in the English-speaking world at least, it is the “zone of proximal development” that has been Vygotsky's most important legacy to education. Indeed, it is the only aspect of Vygotsky's genetic theory of human development that most teachers have ever heard of and, as a result, it is not infrequently cited to justify forms of teaching that seem quite incompatible with the theory as a whole. This centenary conference therefore seems an appropriate occasion to review Vygotsky's exposition of the zpd and to consider the ways in which this seminal concept has been modified and extended in subsequent work.
Although the zpd is often said to be a central concept within his theory, its explicit formulation appeared quite late in Vygotsky's writings and then in two rather different contexts. One version, translated into English as “Interaction between Learning and Development” (chapter 6 of Mind in Society, 1978), occurred in a posthumously published collection of essays entitled Mental Development of Children and the Processes of Learning (Vygotsky, 1935). Here, the immediate context in which the concept of the zpd is presented is that of the assessment of children's intellectual abilities and, more specifically, as a more dynamic conception of intellectual potential than that represented by an IQ score. Vygotsky defines the zone of proximal development as “the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers” (1978, p. 86).