Re: Educational activity and school

From: Phil Chappell (
Date: Fri Oct 01 2004 - 19:42:15 PDT


The sinister enterprise of trying to catch others out was far from my
mind. If I wasn't so tired and slightly taken by a glass of strong Thai
beer after a busy week, I would have questioned the context of VVD's
comments in the broader context of his talk at the university. My
"wascally words" were questioning whether he was projecting that the
adoption of an educational approach based on "Learning Activity" was
just too far removed, paradigmatically, from the entrenched traditional
approach. As you restated:

  "It is very difficult to find real educational activity in a school
setting, at least the normal school settings that occupy millions of
Russian and American children daily"

But what is most encouraging to me is the positive results reported by
VVD himself recently:

"We would like to note that our theory of learning activity and
developmental education in Russia today finds considerably wide usage.
At present, many schools in the cities and the countryside in various
regions of Russia (like Siberia, Povolzh'e, Ural, and others) utilize
curricula based on our theory. These curricula involve programs on
mathematics and physics, Russian language and literature, art, labour
practice, chemistry, and grammatics. These programs are used in primary
and secondary schools.

Thus, the resolute reform of the educational system that occurs in
Russia today rests heavily on new pedagogical ideas and utilizes new
programs based on new pedagogical psychology. The process of reforming
has started quite recently and the considerable efforts of scientists
and practical teachers are needed for its successful realization"

Davydov, V.V. (1999) What is Real learning Activity? in Hedegaard, M.,
and Lompscher, J., (ed's) Learning Activity and Development, Aarhus:
Aarhus University Press

Indeed, at a recent second language learning/teaching conference in
Vladivostok, I was struck by the familiarity and apparent applications
of activity theory in second language classrooms throughout Far Eastern
Russia, and the wonderful performances by youngsters in English on the
stage attests to the fact that something quite effective is happening
in that large and under-resourced part of the world.

Ever respectfully,


On Oct 2, 2004, at 3:40 AM, Mike Cole wrote:

> Phil -- I am never sure about things I write on email concerning
> events that
> occurred 30 years ago. And I am (well almost) never upset when
> evidence of
> my erring memory is pointed out by colleagues who wish me well.
> Peg --- I had some difficulty getting to educational activity in the
> PS91
> example, but thought the example from Griffin and King showed a lot of
> features of educational activity. I promise not to broadcast it until
> after
> its in print!
> mike

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