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7 Vygtosky

7 Vygtosky

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11/24/2012

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7
Toolandsymbolinchilddevelopment
Lev
Vygotsky
and
AlexanderLuria
I
The
problem
of
the
practicalintelligenceinanimal
and
child
Fromthemomentwhenchildpsychologybegantodevelopasaspecialbranchofpsychologicalinvestigation,Stumpf"attemptedcooutlinethecharacterofthisnewscientificfieldthroughacomparisonwithbotany.'Linnaeus,'saidhe,
asiswellknown,qualifiedbotanyas'scientiaamabilis'or'pleasantscience',This scarcelyappliestocontemporary
botany,
..
If
,indeed,anysciencedeserves
to
be
calledpleasant,itisthepsychologyofchildhood,thescienceofwhatwemostcherish,loveandtakepleasurein,thethingwecaremostforintheworldandwhichwethereforemuststudyandlearntounderstand.
Behindthisprettycomparison,however,thereliesmorethanmeetstheeye,morethanthemereintroductionofLinnaeus'attitudetowardthebotanyofhistimeintochildpsychology.Forthiscomparisonactuallyshieldedanentirephilosophyofchildpsychology,aspecificconceptofchilddevelopmentwhich,withoutsayingsomuchinwords,basedallitsexperimentsonthepremiseproclaimedbyStumpf.Thisconceptstressedthebotanic,vegetablecharacterofchilddevelopment,whilepsycho
logical
developmentofthechildwasunderstood,chiefly,asagrowthphenomenon.Inacertainsensecontemporarychildpsychologyisnotyetcompletelyfreefromthesebotanicaltendencies,whichactasblinkersandhinderthelightoftrueperceptionfrombeingshedonthehighlyspecificcharacterofpsychologicaldevelopmentinthechildascomparedwithgrowthinplants.ThereforeGesellisabolutelyright
when
hepointstothefactthatourapproachcoward,andnotionsof,childdevelopment
still
teemwithbotanic1comparisons.Wespeakofthedevelopment(growth)ofthechild,wequalifykindergartenasasystemofearly-ageupbringing.Itwasonlyduringtheprocessoflonginvestigations,lastingentiredecades,thatpsychology
o v e r c a m ~
thefirstconceptwhichsawtheprocessesofpsychologicaldevelopmentas
followir:tg
andproceedingalongthelinesofbotanicpatterns.Nowadayspsychologyhasbeguntorealizethatgrowthprocessesalonedonot
aCCOUnt
forthewholecomplexityofchilddevelopment;whatismore,whenitcomes
 
to
themostcomplexandspecificformsofhumanbehaviour,growth,intheliteral senseoftheword,whileremaininganelementoftheprocessofdevelopment,isbutasubordinatefactor.Theprocessesofdevelopmentdisplaysuchcomplicatedqua- litativetransformationsofoneformintoanother,asHegelwouldsay,suchatransi- tionofquantityintoquality,andviceversa,thatthenotionofgrowthcannot
be
applied.If,however,modernpsychologyhasasawholeindeed
paned
companywiththebotanicmodelofchilddevelopment,now,asitwere,ascendingtheladderofscience, itaboundswithideasthatcenerearoundtheconceptofchilddevelopmeneesseneially beingmerelyamorecomplicatedanddevelopedtypeoftheoriginsandevolutionofthoseformsofbehaviourwhichareobservedintheanimalkingdom.Oncethecaptiveofbotany,childpsychologyisnowmesmerizedbyzoology,andmanyoftheleading trendsinmodernpsychologyseek
to
receiveadirectanswerconcerningthepsychol-ogyofchilddevelopmentthroughexperimentsconductedonanimals.Theseexperi-menes,withslightmodifications,aretransferredfromthelaboratoryofanimal psychologyintothenursery.Thusoneofthemostauthoritativeinvestigatorsinthis fieldwasobliged
to
acknowledgethatthemostimportantmethodologicalachieve-mentsinchildinvestigationsareduetoanimalzoopsychology.Suchconvergenceofchildandanimalpsychology
has
contributedsignificanclyincreatingabiologicalbasis
to
psychologicalresearch.It
has
certainlyledtotheestablishmentofmanyhighlyimportantpoineswhichlinkchildandanimalbehav-iourwherelowerandelementarypsychologicalprocessesareconcerned.Butrecentlywehavebeenwicnessingamostparadoxicalstageinthedevelopmentofchildpsychology:thechapterevennowbeingwrittenanddealingwiththedevelopmentofthehigherintellectualprocessesnative
to
manasahumanbeing,evolves!asthe directcontinuarionofthecorrespondingchapterofanimalpsychology.Nowheredoesthisparadoxical
attempt
tosolvethemysteryofthespecificallyhumaninchildpsychology,anditsdevelopmentthroughanalogousformsofbehav- iourobservedinhigheranimals,displayitselfwithsuchevidenceasintheteachingofpracticalineelligenceofthechild,themostimportantfunctionofwhichisthe
use
oftools.100
LEV
VYGOTSKY
AND
ALEXANDER
LURIA
Experiments
on
the
practical
intelligence
ofthechild
ThebeginningofthisnewandfruitfulseriesofinvestigationswasmarkedbythewellknownworksofKohlerconductedonapes.Kohler,asweknow,fromtimetotimecomparedchildresponseinhisexperimenestothoseofachimpanzeeinsimilarconditions.Thiswasfatal
to
allfollowinginvestigators.Thedirectcomparisonofpracticalintelligenceinthechildwithanalogousactionsofapesbecametheguidingprincipleofallfurtherexperimentalworkinthisfield.Thusoneisatfirsttemptedtoqualifyalltheseexperimenes,originating
from
Kohler'swork,asthedirectcontinuarion
of
theideaswhichareevolvedinhis
classi
cstudy.Butthisappliesonly
to
one'sfirstimpression.Anattentiveapproachquicklyshowsthat,allexteriorandineeriorsimilaritiesnotwithstanding,thenew
works
 
actuallyrepresentatendencybasicallyopposed
to
,
andopposite
to,
thosewhichguidedKohler.OneofKohler'sfundamentalideas,aswascorrectlyshownbyLipmann,isthesimilarity
of
behaviourofanthropoidsandmaninthefieldofpracticalintelligence.Kohler'schiefconcernthroughouthisentireworkwas
to
showthehuman-likebehaviour
of
anthropoids.Atthesametime,thepointofdeparture
of
Kohler'sworkisbasedonthetacitassumption
that
the
correspondingbehaviourofmanisevidenttoallfromeverydayexperience.Contrary
to
this,newinvestigators'whotriedto transfer
to
the
child"
the
laws
of
practicalintelligencediscoveredbyKohler,wereguidedbytheoppositetendencywhichfoundanexactreflectionintheinterpretationofBUhler'sexperimentsasgivenbytheauthorhimself. Thisinvestigatorrelateshisexperimentsconcerningtheearliestmanifestationsofpractical
thought
inthechild.'Thesemanifestationswereabsolutelysimilar
to
thoseofthechimpanzee,andthereforethisphaseofachild'slife
might
quitejustlybecalled."
Th
e
chimp
nzee-likeage"...Inthegivenchimpanzee-likeagethechild makesitsfirstlittleinventions,ofcourse,mostprimitively,
but
fromthepsychologicalpoint
of
view
of
amost
important
nature.'
~
Theapplication
of
Kohler'smethodstosuchachildnaturallycallsformanychanges.
But
the
principle
of
investigationanditsfundamentalpsychologicalcontentsremainunchanged.
The
childplay
of
graspingobjectswasusedbytheauthortoinvestigatethechild'scapacity
to
applyroundaboutways
to
achieveagoalandtouseprimitivetools.In
that
sensesome
of
theseexperimentsmayberegardedasadirecttransfer
of
Kohler'sexperiments(forinstance,theexperimentwherearing mustberemovedfromastick,ortheseries
with
thepiece
of
toastattached
to
astring).BUhler'sexperimentsledhim
to
theimportantdiscovery
that
thefirstmanifestationsofpracticalintelligencein
the
child,aswellastheactions
of
thechimpanzee,areentirelyindependent
of
speech(thiswaslaterre-affirmedintheworks
of
Ch.Biihler,withthefirstmanifestations
of
practicalintelligenceinthechildbeingplacedatanevenearlierdatebetweenthesixthandseventhmonths).BUhlerestablishes
the
geneticallyextremelyimportantfact
that
'priortospeechexistsinstrumental
thought
'('Werkzeugdenken'),i.e,the'graspingofmechanical concatenationsandfinding
of
mechanicalmeansformechanical
ends'."
Actually,activepractical
thinking
doesprecedethefirstbeginningsofintelligentspeechinthechild,thusevidentlycomprisinggeneticallythemostinitialphaseinthedevelopmentofitsintellect.However,evenintheseinvestigationsBUhler'sbasicideacomes
out
withgreatclarity.
Where
Kohlerwasconcernedwithuncovering
the
human-likeintheactions
of
anthropoids,BUhleraimstoshowthechimpanzee-likeintheactionsofthechild.Thistendency,
with
afewexceptions,remainsunchangedintheworkofall
follOWing
investigators.Itishere
that
thedanger
of
what
might
becalledthe'animalization'
of
childpychology,mentionedearlier,findsitsclearestexpressionastheprevalentfeature
of
investigationinthisfield(seeearlierreference).
101
OOL
ANDSYMBOLIN
CHILDDEVELOPMENT

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