Re: [xmca] lanlguage and systemic change

From: bb (
Date: Mon Aug 07 2006 - 08:34:48 PDT

Emily Duvall wrote:

> The collaborative nature of dynamic assessment, however, goes against
> the grain of the autonomous individual which has long been the goal in
> special education as well as regular education. And while we'd perhaps
> like to think of our classrooms as communities, the nature of the
> testing suggests that it is a room full of individuals who have sucked
> up and can spit out the same answers.

Well written!

> So my question is, do our testing practices reflect a particular view of the individual/collective relation ?

Or perhaps --do our testing practices reflect a particular view of learning and working?

My gut answer is 'yes'. In the US, the autonomous individual is one who can be mobile; who can do a job in one place as well as another; who can easily be retrained as work changes in relation to markets. Capitalism, while, as Marx and Weber describe it, leads to an increasing specialization of labor and increasing alienation, also relies upon a flexible workforce. (The change lab can almost be seen as an emacipatory response to the contradictions -- helping Finnish postal workers redesign their work with increasing competition from express delivery services, for example.) The autonomous individual arguably is also a societal response to the contradictions -- individuals trained deeply enough to specialize in one job and yet broadly enough to switch to another job as employment conditions change. Some of these relations may be buried in an NSF report I've been poking through:

An excerpt from the chapter 3 conclusion reads as follows, with specific emphasis on individuals and mobilzation of indivudual talent:

"In general, labor market conditions for individuals with S&E [Science and Engineering] degrees improved during the 1990s. (These conditions have always been better than the conditions for college graduates as a whole.) However, engineering and computer science occupations have been unusually affected by the recent recession, causing the unemployment rate for individuals in all S&E occupations to reach a 20-year high of 4.6% in 2003 before dropping to 3.0% in 2004. Labor market conditions for new doctoral degree recipients have been good according to most conventional measures; for example, the vast majority of S&E doctorate degree holders are employed and doing work relevant to their training. However, these gains have come in the nonacademic sectors. In nearly all fields, the proportion of doctoral recipients that obtain tenure-track academic positions, long a minority, has continued to decline. The globalization of the S&E labor force continues to increase as the location!
  of S&E
 employment becomes more internationally diverse and S&E workers become more internationally mobile. These trends reinforce each other as R&D spending and business investment cross national borders in search of available talent, as talented people cross borders in search of interesting and lucrative work, and as employers recruit and move employees internationally. Although these trends appear most strong in the high-profile international competition for IT workers, they affect every science and technology area."

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