On The Subject Of Pedagogies. Vygotskian Contributions to a Postmodern Approach to Critical Pedagogy

Year: 2000

Author: PARKES, R

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper represents an on-going attempt to establish a dialogue between educational theories of mind and society. It is part of a continuing project to formulate a critical pedagogy that is comfortable under postmodern conditions. I will begin by briefly exploring the ways in which various "radical pedagogues" have attempted to respond to the crisis of postmodernity - the death of certainty about the truth-claims of the curriculum, the nature of students, and authority within the pedagogical relation - arguing that they do not go far enough to satisfy postmodern concerns. I will then turn to pedagogies inspired by Vygotsky's (1934/1987) notion of the Zone of Proximal Development, (including those that cluster around the metaphors of scaffolding/construction, apprenticeship, and performance) and argue that in their reformulation of the pedagogical relation, and their resultant problematisation of knowledge, subjectivity and agency, lies possibilities for a radical postmodern pedagogy. I will conclude by addressing Gee, Hull & Lankshear's (1996) important critique that these pedagogies are aligned with the interests of fast capitalism, and argue that all radical pedagogies are in Foucauldian terms, "dangerous practices".