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Zones of Proximal Development

rayj's picture

I'm just thinking about our discomfort with statements and whatnot, and as an education minor, I think a lot about learning and pedagogy and whatever. So, there's this thing called the zone of proximal development, and Vgotsky, a psychologist wrote about it extensively. In my understanding, it's that we should push students to a place where their learning is challenged, but not to a point where students cannot be successful in the work they are confronted with. Perhaps we have been pushed in some ways too much, in some ways not enough. 

For me, I think that is a way in which my learning in this class has sometimes been lacking. And maybe it's just me, I don't know. Just some thoughts, that maybe I am at times not challenged enough, but also pushed in ways that make me shut down intellectually. I'm not sure.


dear.abby's picture

the paradox of choice

I have been thinking about the idea of both feminist oriented pedagogy and the way feminism/feminist theory is presented to students. I have felt somewhat overwhelmed this semester with ideas and ways I want to express them (i.e. in the web events) that I have ended up feeling almost paralyzed. I am confronted with so many different directions these ideas could go and the many other ideas that progression might create that I end up tying myself (and all the ideas in my head into knots). Critical Feminist Studies has presented me with so many potential directions that I have paralyzed myself with indecision and the inability to make a choice when confronted with so many viable options. This is the paradox of choice.

I have noticed that in many ways (often within the classroom/academic realm) I simply want to be told what to do, so I can produce exactly what is desired. I want to fulfill a demand. Yet I know any pedagogy that makes explicit demands might oppose effective feminist pedagogy. Earlier it was mentioned that in trying to create a less top down classroom environment (top down being when the prof. lectures, and students absorb) we might have inadvertenly created a more imposing, more controlled and restricted environment, in which it is not possible to choose to spend the class period staring into space. In creating a more "liberal" environment we also created a more restrictive one. Similarly, the open nature of subject and assignment within this course has led me to feel trapped, within my own head.

It is also quite possible, and even likely, that I have fabricated this entire "trap" in my head. I want to say so much and yet I feel I don't know what to say. I feel incredibly challenged and yet I feel this challenge is not external but rather something I have birthed myself.