The Zone of Proximal Development As A Strategically Mediated Encounter With Alterity

Robert Parkes

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper

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This paper begins by examining the emergence of Vygotsky's notion of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) as a 'working hypothesis' that he used to deal with the problem of the relationship between instruction and development. The article then argues for the implicit connection of the ZPD with other Vygotskian notions such as 'internalisation' and 'semiotic mediation', and attempts to highlight the dialectical philosophy that underpins it. After surveying a range of interpretations of the ZPD that exist in the neo-Vygotskian literature, a way of thinking about the ZPD is presented that recasts it as a 'strategically mediated encounter with alterity' by teasing out a sociological reading of the zone. It is argued that thinking about the ZPD in this way allows us to speculate about possible outcomes of the encounter with alterity, and the important role of teachers and teacher educators in providing mediational tools to support a transformational, rather than transactional outcome from any encounter with difference.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAARE2004
Subtitle of host publicationDoing the public good
EditorsPeter Jeffery
Place of PublicationMelbourne, Australia
PublisherAARE Inc
Pages1-16p (par04497)
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventAustralian Association for Research in Education Conference: AARE 2004 - Brisbane, Australia, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 01 Dec 200205 Dec 2002


ConferenceAustralian Association for Research in Education Conference


Cite this

Parkes, R. (2005). The Zone of Proximal Development As A Strategically Mediated Encounter With Alterity. In P. Jeffery (Ed.), AARE2004: Doing the public good (pp. 1-16p (par04497)). AARE Inc.