I have a friend at work who is one of the most engaging conversationalists around. Our recent topic at morning coffee is change and how it could affect the young people we mentor and teach in the Academy. Because I am a fan of Lev Vygotsky and Jean Piaget, I sent her a web article on the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) in the hope that we can look at change and learning how to change from theories tried and tested.
Piaget theorized that children learn at their leisure and in autonomy. But Vygotsky added the environment as a factor in learning. By guiding, mentoring and scaffolding learning experiences at a child’s ZPD, he/she will be able to build self confidence and continuously construct knowledge by intearcting socially with parents, teachers and peers. I haven’t heard from her since the email.
I persisted by sending her a short book review of Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard (Heath and Heath, Crown Business 2010)
On change and what research in the human and social sciences say about it; what makes it complicated; why people find it such a challenge. But, early on in the book Chip Heath and Dan Heath, the authors of the book, gave a very simple and real reason. They said, “Often, the heart and mind disagree. Fervently.”
Peppered with stories on change and managing change in big and small ways, research on human interactions and behavior towards it are overlaid. Studies are presented and built around these human interest stories. For example, to introduce the idea that perception plays a role in the will to change, a study on popcorn consumption is used to great effect. There are chapters that include specific strategies in making the change and responding to it in personal ways, as well as its implications to the community. My personal favorite is the chapter on sustainability because it is for me, the more challenging task in creating and making a chane.
Available at the BA Library for your reading pleasure!