Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesPhilosophy · 8 years ago

Help, support and politics: your opinion (but read the comment first)?

Just about anyone has an opinion regarding education and learning, just as about living and help. However, regardless of these contentions and preferences, there also exists a science about and it did involve experiments which conveyed results that have been synthesized into theories that we may use to solve practical problems.

Vygotski conceptualized a model of psychological development which exposes the necessary conditions for people to develop. The three principle he listed were:

1- The targeted skill must be located in the zone of proximal development;

2- Constraints must be imposed and matched by equal resources and support;

3- The teacher must practice mutual regulation.

The first principle basically divides skills into three groups: things that have been learnt, things that can be learnt and things that can't yet be learnt. For the first block, the individual can achieve the task on his own; for the second block, the individual requires help, but may achieve to fulfill the task if the support is appropriate; in the last segment, the individual cannot yet use these skills: they are still too complex for him at the moment. The second principle basically says that you need to demand individuals to fulfill a task in order for them to improve, but you also need to grant them with the tools to manage the situation. It may be help in terms of time, effort, books, money, etc. Lastly, the teacher must practice mutual regulation: it's a complex way of saying you have to adapt your teaching to each individual.

What does this mean politically? Well, you're not necessarily hindering personal development by providing help -- that's a scientific fact. The effect and efficiency of your help depends on how it is provided: if it meets all the above principles, it fosters personal growth; if not, it may even be detrimental.

And, finally, my questions:

Do you think that it is possible for socially crafted institutional means, such as welfare programs and the likes, meet the above principles?

If only partially so, try to compare which between an absence of program and a presence of imperfect programs would yield the best results?

1 Answer

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I don't see how the first principal applies to welfare and social programs. Teaching isn't one of the objectives of such programs, so I do not find a correlation to the recipients ability to be taught.

    The second principle is tied to the third. There are people that get into difficult situations, and social programs provide them with what they need to "make it through" and get back on their feet. But whether the programs provide what a person needs to do that is very much dependent on the person getting the assistance.

    Largely, I would say no, the 2nd principal fails. In many cases the offer of money, food, etc. is what is needed for the person to get up on their own. But the requirement to do so, the drive, the push, the "demand to improve" does not exist.

    The third principal is an absolute no. The system is static, it gives what it gives, and it doesn't matter who the recipient is or their personal situation. Minor adjustments are made for size of family, children's age, and so on, but largely the programs are the same for everyone.

    With that being the case, it would be possible to argue that the programs fail so completely on the 3rd principal, that they actively prevent the 2nd principal from being possible.

    The last question is difficult. For the large numbers of people that the programs help as intended, then of course the program is the best result. You will get a great many that abuse the systems, those that take advantage of it without any real need for it. Do those parasites justify eliminating the benefit of helping the ones in genuine need?

    I do not know.

    I would hesitate to let one genuine and honestly deserving man struggle and die just to prevent two lazy individuals from gaining.

    An interesting quandry.

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