MIND IN SOCIETY part I

2

February 21, 2010 by Willy Cardoso

I was starting to feel a bit frustrated because I haven’t really had the time to write good stuff to post here. All I was doing was pasting links to other sites, which is fine, but with Twitter on, there’s little point in doing so in a blog. One of the reasons I haven’t written is that I’ve been reading a lot, lot, lot instead. I’m really into being sharp for when my MA starts. I have just decided then that I would post bits of my readings, the ones that really caught my attention to the extent that I took time to type them up; and then I’ll make brief comments.

book: MIND IN SOCIETY (L.S. VYGOSTKY)

Chapter: The role of play in development

Could one suppose that a child’s behavior is always guided by meaning, that a preschooler’s behavior is so arid that he never behaves spontaneously simply because he think he should behave otherwise? This strict subordination to rules is quite impossible in life, but in play it does become possible: thus, play creates a zone of proximal development of the child. In play a child always behaves beyond his average age, above his daily behavior; in play it is as though he were a head taller than himself. As in the focus of a magnifying glass, play contains all developmental tendencies in a condensed form and is itself a major source of development.

(…)

Though the play-development relationship can be compared to the instruction-development relationship, play provides a much wider background for changes in needs and consciousness. Action in the imagination sphere, in an imaginary situation, the creation of voluntary intentions, and the formation of real-life plans and volitional motives – all appear in play and make it the highest level of preschool development.

The child moves forward essentially through play activity. Only in this sense can play be considered a leading activity that determines the child’s development.

This is amazing!

Since I teach adults, I haven’t really thought about play that much. I’m even embarassed sometimes to ask them to do things that are more playful. But after reading that and pondering over my attitudes when in play, I realize that many times I “behave beyond my average age” cognitively speaking, and also quite the opposite, being an adult in play I also behave below my average mental age, which makes me less self-critical and less self-demanding, which in turn enhances my creative thinking greatly, and makes learning more memorable.

This is something quite simple, but sometimes we neglect these associations, and behave too much like ‘ourselves’.

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2 thoughts on “MIND IN SOCIETY part I

  1. Tatiana says:

    Good post – sometimes just by asking ourselves “How would I like to learn this?” makes a huge impact on the way we teach. If you’re deriving joy to begin with, your students will too eventually.

    • Thanks Tatiana!
      That’s a good advice. Maybe not so much for me, because as a French learner I don’t like play that much. I usually ask this question to my students though, after all they have to enjoy it more than me. But then, you know, many times they don’t know the answer to: How do YOU like to learn? They say, it’s up to you, you’re the teacher. A lot of learner training going on lately, topic for a next post.

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