Perspectives: Tools of Recursion, Intermental Zones of Proximal Development, and Critical Collaborative Autonomy

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Tim Murphey, Nanzan University

Exploratory teaching (Allwright, 1991) was conducted in a)apanese university
EFL course in which students were asked to study themselves as learners in
participatory action research (Auerbach, 1994). Weekly student commentary
shows how reflection-in-action, reflection-on-action (Schon, 1987), and
reflection literacy (Hasan, 1996) were encouraged by the recursive microdiscursive
tools of shadowing and summarizing while recording conversations,
and by the recursive reflective tools of action-logging and newsletters.
Highlighting student voices through newsletters seemed to enrich the
participants' sense of a common intermental space in which to negotiate and
scaffold meaning. These tools of recursion helped students manifest what their
minds were modeling, making comprehensible what they were thinking to
themselves and to others, and create overlapping intermental zones of proximal
development (Vygotsky, 1934). Comments from student action logs are used
to support the idea that inter mental interaction can lead toward critical
collaborative autonomy (Murphey &)acobs, 2(00).