Re: [xmca] Semiotic-Material Ordering

From: <ERIC.RAMBERG who-is-at>
Date: Thu Apr 17 2008 - 11:05:18 PDT


Thank you for interest. When I begin to think about the implementation of
the portfolio I am at first interested in understanding the context of its
use. When context becomes the focus of my interest I think about how staff
can point to it as an expectation and how students can point to it as
understanding their success. Being that it is an alternative to earning
high school credits there is also the context of it being viewed as
different, sometimes of course different can be thought of as bad by
teenagers. When implementing the portfolio these contexts need to be taken
into account. The expectation being that performing the activity of
comparison shopping is accompanied by the functions of budgeting and meal
preperation. The succes aspect provides an opportunity for concept
development as student and staff work together in a common goal (i.e.
planning, shopping and meal preparation). Prior to the portfolio these
activities were included in our school's curriculum but there was not the
semiotic-material ordering that you speak of in your article. The aspect
of this subject that really provides me with great evidence that Vygotsky's
explanation of the mediational aspect of development is correct is that the
staff I work with do not frame their teaching in a CHAT perspective, yet
instinctively when we meet and discuss the portfolio the explanations for
its success fall into Vygotsky's mediational theory. Does any of this make
sense? What do you think?


                      Michalis Kontopodis
                      < To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
            > cc:
                      Sent by: Subject: Re: [xmca] Semiotic-Material Ordering
                      04/16/2008 03:47 PM
                      Please respond to "eXtended
                      Mind, Culture, Activity"

Dear Eric, thank you very much for your comments, I am happy that my
work made some sense to you.

it is clear that I am much influenced by Vygotsky's Thought and
Language, and I see a lot of parallels to Valsiner, too.

May I ask you how you (would) evaluate your portfolio or any similar
tools from your perspective?

Michalis Kontopodis

research associate
humboldt university berlin
tel.: +49 (0) 30 2093 3716
fax.: +49 (0) 30 2093 3739

On Apr 16, 2008, at 7:29 PM, wrote:

> Michalis:
> Such an important paper pertaining to the work that I currently
> practice.
> In fact you have summarized very well a practice that we put into
> place two
> years ago that we have found great success implementing. Two years
> ago
> staff put in a great deal of time in the evenings to develop a
> portfolio.
> It was a list compiling all of the activities they would be required
> to
> complete while they are attending our program. Prior to the
> development of
> this portfolio the explanation of expectations was more ethereal in
> nature
> and consisted of meetings, small checklist and quite frankly
> subjective
> feelings. Since the development of this portfolio the result has been
> similar to the following quote from your paper:
> "The diagram [insert portfolio here] presented here is abstract and
> encompasses the student's complete school past.
> Time is here not only spatialized but it is fabricated as a line
> connecting
> the past, the present and
> the future, i.e. it is fabricated as irreversible time. A student's
> development is 'objectified'. The
> term "to objectify" is used here to indicate the translation of
> something
> vague (ongoing interaction
> and intra-activity in everyday life) into something visible, in a
> way which
> is accepted as objective;
> the term also indicates embodying a vague idea in a materiality e.g. a
> document (Middleton,
> Brown, & Lightfoot, 2001; Middleton & Brown, 2005). Discursive
> interaction
> and intra-activity
> is always also non-discursive: the graphics of development go
> together with
> the students' autobiographical
> narrations and the teachers' discussions/reports mediating the
> institutional
> memory. (p.15)"
> Also of note my newest avenue of interest has been to thoroughly
> research
> Chapter 5 (an experimental study of the development of concepts) from
> Vygotsky's Thought and Language. Much of what you write pertaining to
> development is similar to Vygotsky's view that what evolves into
> higher
> psychological thought in adolescence is present in the child prior to
> adolescence but the mediation and the flow of complexes eventually
> evolves
> in the adolescent thinking in concepts as a result of this
> semiotic-material ordering. I also see parallels between your
> thinking on
> semiotic-material ordering and Valsiner's concept of the process-
> structure
> of semiotic mediation.
> Thank you for allowing your paper to be viewed on XMCA, I for one
> greatly
> appreciate it.
> eric
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Received on Thu Apr 17 11:07 PDT 2008

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