3.3.1 Making connections between the known and the new
Rogoff builds on the concept of intersubjectivity to emphasise the shared history, communicative strategies and purposes in a learning relationship that facilitate joint focus and effective collaboration. Laboratory studies of teaching, learning and problem solving are often based on a task or skill that is quite new to participants. In everyday life, such complete novelty is rare. Encountering a new situation, one of the first things that teachers and learners try to do is to make sense of it in terms of their past experiences. Rogoff has summarised this feature as follows:
For very young children, the bridging role of adults involves assisting children in understanding how to act in new situations by provision of emotional cues regarding the nature of the situation, non-verbal models of how to behave, verbal and non-verbal interpretations of behaviour and events, and verbal labels to classify objects and events. All of these adult activities are coupled with young children's efforts (intentional or not) to pick up information about the nature of situations and their caregivers.
As we saw in Reading 5 (Cultural Worlds of Early Childhood, pp. 230–31) Rogoff et al. illustrate social referencing as an example of non-verbal bridging. Once children become verbally competent, most bridging at home and especially in classrooms is by verbal referencing.