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How conceptual thinking develops: a replication of the Sakharov-Vygotsky Experiment in French

1.1 Social, cultural, linguistic and educational mediation
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
2:30 PM, Tuesday 29 Aug 2017 (20 minutes)
The genesis of conceptual thinking and the factors at play in its inception makes it a topic of tremendous importance for educational sciences (Friedrich, Hofstetter & Schneuwly, 2013). Vygotsky’s pioneering theory posited that words, as learned cultural tools, became psychological tools that “drove” the inner working and the development of conceptual thinking from infancy to adulthood (1934, 1997). This theory was largely based on experimental results derived from Sakharov’s instrument, a game whereby participants were asked to categorize dissimilar objects according to nonsensical words. However important Vygotsky’s contribution was, the experimental protocol underlying this work is quite unclear (van der Veer & Valsiner, 1994; Friedrich, 2012; Towsey, 2011). Moreover, the original experiment has never been replicated in a French-speaking context. Therefore, this study’s main goal is to replicate and gain some perspective on the experiment Vygotsky and Sakharov designed to test the hypothesis that words play a significant role in the inception of conceptual thinking. Along these lines, we are also interested in assessing the validity and reliability of the Sakharov-Vygotsky device as a proper scientific instrument for such purposes. We will recruit 35 participants in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades of primary schools in the city of Sherbrooke. The instrument will be identical to the original with the exception of being adapted to the French-speaking context. The experimenter will meet each participant and deliver the task individually. Each trial will be recorded on film and audio. The data thus collected will be further explored both qualitatively and quantitatively.
Université de Sherbrooke
Université de Sherbrooke