BSP Podcast: Miles Kennedy – Phenomenology and Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development

podcast update

Season one of our podcast continues with another panel presentation from the British Society for Phenomenology Annual Conference in 2016.

Season 1 episode 12: 5 May 2017

This recording is of Miles Kennedy’s presentation ‘Where learning takes place: A phenomenological description of Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development’. You can listen to this episode on the BSP’s Podbean site, and you can also find it on iTunes and all good podcasting apps by searching ‘BSP Podcast’.

Abstract: “Anyone studying teaching practice and pedagogy in recent years will have heard of Lev Semenovich Vygotsky’s theory of social constructivism and his trademark idea, the “Zone of Proximal Development” or ZPD. Vygotsky described this Zone as “the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers” (Vygotsky, 1978, p86). The Zone of Proximal Development, then, is more often than not described primarily in terms of “cognitive constructivism” thus remaining in territory similar to that mapped out by Piaget. This paper will apply a phenomenological descriptive method to contemporary classroom environments, influenced by Vygotsky’s social constructivism, in order to bring to light a more concrete, lived version of this “Zone of Proximal Development”. By re-examining this very significant pedagogical approach in terms of a phenomenology of space, place and dwelling it is hoped that some value and insight can be brought to the fields of teaching practice and the phenomenology of education.”

The British Society for Phenomenology’s Annual Conference took place at The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester, UK during September, 2016. It gathered together philosophers, literary scholars, phenomenologists, and practitioners exploring phenomenological theory and its practical application. It covered a broad range of areas and issues including the arts, ethics, medical humanities, mental health, education, technology, feminism, politics and political governance, with contributions throwing a new light on both traditional phenomenological thinkers and the themes associated with classical phenomenology. More information about the conference can be found here.