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Lev Vygotsky maintained that historical and cultural aspects of development started from the point at which humans could first be distinguished from apes. It is critical to consider the dialectical relationship between the individual and the cultural environment in which the child actively masters cultural behavior. Interaction with others provides the means by which children adapt to the environment. The essential feature of learning is that it creates the zone of proximal development. Studies of collaboration should consider the three interrelated aspects of development: (1) individual, including age, gender, and temperament; (2) interpersonal, especially the dyad's past history and nature of the relationship; and (3) cultural-historical, the context in which a child masters methods of reasoning and problem solving. Studies of collaboration focusing solely on the interpersonal level cannot be said to be based on Vygotsky's theory. Also, studies should deal with the collaborative processes themselves rather than focusing on their effects. Conceptual problems are raised by comparing the work of a dyad asked to solve a problem to that of the individual. The individual is assumed to be working alone despite the fact that the experimenter is present and the dyad may not be actively working together to solve the problem, the critical characteristic of collaboration. Treating the dyad as the unit of analysis is more difficult statistically than focusing on one member of the pair, but is critical to the effective study of collaboration. (Contains 20 references.) (KB)

Descriptors: Children, Cognitive Development, Cooperation, Cultural Influences, Individual Differences, Problem Solving, Research Methodology, Research Problems

Autor: Tudge, Jonathan; Hogan, Diane


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