Learning, Culture, and Social Interaction, 22, 100316. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lcsi.2019.05.003
Vygotsky conceptualized the teaching/learning process as inherently collaborative. We extend prior evaluations of this claim by enlisting eye-tacking instruments to monitor the perceptual activity of four teacher–student dyads, as the student solves a challenging manipulation problem designed to ground the scientific notion of parabolas in their new sensorimotor routines. Analyzing each dyad’s gaze paths simultaneously with their verbal and gestural utterance led us to model the teaching/learning process as the emergence and dynamic transformation of intersubjective coupling between the student and tutor perception–action systems. While the student’s sensory-motor coordination gradually gravitates towards an effective routine, the tutor’s perception is iteratively launched from the student’s current position, until the tutor detects an optimal moment for verbal intervention. In this micro-zone of proximal development, the student’s motor action comes to align with the tutor’s cultural-perspective strategy; the intervention is thus accomplished by smoothly soliciting from the student a new conceptualisation and articulation of their emerged sensory-motor coordination. Our elaboration of the cultural–historical approach to teaching/learning draws on research on joint attention and joint action from the cognitive sciences as well as the embodied-design approach from the educational sciences and demonstrates a compatibility of Vygotsky’s heritage and complex dynamic systems theory. Finally, we discuss the educational value of the observed student–tutor intersubjective coupling phenomena, thus grounding the contribution of this multidisciplinary study within educational concerns.