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RE: [xmca] LSV- Dynamic Assessment-Feurestein-Kozulin Article


Every so often a man on the ground gets to say something pithy, as when, a few years ago in another regime, a soldier said to a nationally televised interview regarding the body armor of vehicles in Iraq, something along the lines of “why do we have to dig for scrap” (or pay for it out of our pay, for that matter, as it later turned out) to which the glib and televised answer was “you don’t get the war you want but the war you get” (or something like that).


We listen!  


Every day I meet students of great talent who have not been selected for by the national testing system, or I should say, the national system as a whole skims off the ones who do well on written tests long ago. While the “dross” (I do not say it is dross) is filtered by the testing system.


David Kellog said (11/28):

A couple of years ago I was at a conference on language testing here in Seoul where the new Computer Based Tests (mostly TOEFL and TOEIC) brought out by Educational Testing Services were being flogged (in both senses of word, that is, touted on the one hand and tortured on the other).


Both of these tests are used in Japan, one for “business competence”, the other for University level work in another country.  The chthonic shifts in 1) Economy 2) population of college bound students (male and female) 3) International relations plus Privatization of National Universities (still National, with private funding supporting research) leads to a situation in which some things change from bottom up, some things are contoured top down, same as it always was.  I have good things to say about teachers caring about individuals in elementary school, even daycare is good, things get really rocky in middle school, then a lot of people quit and go to work (education is a form of national duty or obligation) while others go to high schools that are rather like trade schools while others are like University (professional track). 


Then there is my son (the personal again) whose teacher said “your scores are almost good enough to go to the Commercial High.”  He adored her, admired her as valiant, he was an adherent and his mother was appalled.  I couldn’t explain the wrongness to either her or him.  For one reason or another, in this case, I am “the man on the ground”.


To grab two metaphors (from an author whose name I can’t remember, there is the dystopia of *1984* and the dystopia of *Brave New World*. Japan is mostly, at this point, like Huxley’s version.  (It’s all in the film *Metropolis*.)  As a language teacher, I almost never get to meet people who have absolutely no interest in learning a foreign language but they have a great interest, and excel, in the management activities we do. They have amazing people skills.  If they really caught on to the system, they would diss the examinations on purpose, because the air up there is so refined.


Back to the point, which is there is much to grab in these discussions (I was just pondering the offering by Gordon Wells and I have run out of time for today), but the wealth of perspective available to us, the interdisciplinary nature of cognition, the particular relevance to teachers, teachers of teachers, philosophers, and cognitive scientists keeps this space open and fermenting with enlightened management.  The openness of the arbitrator, “host”, and the inspiring model(?) provided  by Lev Vygotsky makes this space OK (she glances furtively) for talking (not just talking to myself).


But, oh gosh, girls still get shafted and can pretty much be crushed.  Many young women that I have taught (shared part of this experience with) have given up and gotten married, when the children begin to arrive, choose that as a suitable time to get off the wheel, only to face the re-entry process twenty years later with whatever they have, whatever support they can muster, whatever the community has to offer. Little of that environment cares if they went to the University or not.  

Some have been shipped off to a foreign land with scraps of English ability to a foreign land.  Don’t get me wrong.  Boys are shafted (do I have to use such violent images) too.  They become highly trained cogs in a machine, waiting for a chance to go home (the land of deferred gratification). The “world” doesn’t particularly care about their individual learning curve. Of course I am exaggerating. Extrapolating from my varied experiences in Private sector and public sector institutions of higher education over the course of 30 years of breath-taking change, who really gets what is going on anyway?  We like the Brazilian families we have here and their idea of family!  The perspectives offered by generations of scholars, philosophers, medieval being who drew their distinctions in various ways help someone on the ground in a foreign land do Dynamic Assessment while keeping an eye on Mediated (mostly computer) dynamic assessment – and Mark Morford – help me be alive and muddling along.

Valerie Wilkinson

Faculty of Informatics


From: mike cole [mailto:lchcmike@gmail.com] 
Sent: Monday, November 29, 2010 7:21 AM
To: vwilk@inf.shizuoka.ac.jp
Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] LSV- Dynamic Assessment-Feurestein-Kozulin Article


You got it as to lessons to take away from the interchange with Achilles, Valerie! We are all always
imagining our experience, in part, and that part imagined part is hugely amplified in a multi-national, multi L1,L2,multi-backgrounded, discourse of xmca. 

The discussion must seem bonkers to try to follow! But at least lots to grab on to.

We are so disparate that many of us do not know what TOEIC means. For use marginalized types, i looked it up on google:  Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC). Sure seems a good distance from DA, but its not moving toward an automated version of DA as far as I can tell. Just the same ole out of context testing for "everyday ability." 

Is that right?

On Sun, Nov 28, 2010 at 12:08 AM, vwilk <vwilk@inf.shizuoka.ac.jp> wrote:

Dear Members,
I have been a "read only" member for a long time, then ventured into discussion when a topic came up that I had some chance of joining. Perhaps, like many, I am too busy with school duties etc to have enough time to read articles and write something. Every topic is inviting, especially all this about Dynamic Assessment that is heating up quick!
There were some mails that mentioned "Zoped" and even a mention of "potential" to replace "proxmate" for the p. Engelstrom (Tom Sawyer) and David Kellogg do this (see Mrs. Gaskell), and perhaps Vygotsky in his time (I have three of his books and havn't had time to even skim them)! good solid literary metaphors can provide tons of informative contextualizing. Politics slips in, too. L2 learning and testing is big -- evaluating competence as you go along and evaluating it to get funding are totally, absolutely DIFFERENT.

And I live in Japan, don't speak Japanese well enough to be a member, hey, I am not "a member";  I am "a visiting scholar" (who happens to be a Faculty member (weird ambiguities dog me at every step). I guess the point is, I don't know who the other "read only" people are and cannot guess at all if there would be repercussions at any level (or not!) but still feel I have to cloak whatever I talk about in deep metaphor, which nevertheless needs a key (allegoresis). I am more paranoid than I would like to be, but experiential learning is talked about and done (to some extent) but not the way I do it. For some reason, and I can't figure out why or how to get through the thicket (feels like a Dante metaphor being born). Anyway, it's not the metaphor, it's how you use/interpret it.

What this has to do with Achilles note (below) is there are a lot of us in very weirdly different situations. For example, I suddenly disappeared (vanished) with the onset of a strange disease just when I was beginning to think I could say something that fit into an on-going conversation, which is surely the best mailgroup/grouplist (I don't even know what it's called) I know, and am only back on-line after a long spate of rehabilitation -- but not back-to-normal due to memory loss and loss of certain cognitive skills. But as Mike shows in this answer and Achilles shows in his questions, let us by all means be as receptive, careful, and intuitive as possible because we all have certain kinds of filters, but they should only screen out the unacceptably unconnected, the rude (language and so on), and something (I'm not sure what) like "the casually dashed-off note without sufficient contextualizing for it to merge with an on-going thread" (just a patch-in).

This list makes me sure that there are people everywhere, maybe even here in the country where I reside, who are trying to do what I am trying to do, but I don't know where they are and if we are allowed to talk! That said, let's keep talking. L2 is really big in my world and TOEIC (to me) is a "dumbing down strategy" that makes me feel ill.
Valerie Wilkinson

Faculty of Informatics, Shizuoka University

(2010/11/28 13:32), mike cole wrote:

Oh! Achilles!
I apologize for projecting my understanding on to your situation. Of course,
we all do it all the time (see my interchange with Eugene where I completely
misinterpreted his meaning in a critical way. It is a great example of how
difficult x-cultural understanding is via internet text in English, never
mind face to face in a common language!!

In part I was caught by newspaper stories of government armored cars in
battles with favela gang members. That was the violence to which I was
referring. If the level of violence is exagerated here in the US, good.

In part I was also expressing my concern, in the note on dynamic assessment,
about economic and political linkages between what we do as (presumably)
well meaning scholars and what is done with the output of our work by
commercial interests.

Again, apologies for the misunderstanding. I mean no disrespect. Clearly
time to go off line!

On Sat, Nov 27, 2010 at 4:31 PM, Achilles Delari Junior<
achilles_delari@hotmail.com>  wrote:

Dear Prof. Michael Cole.
I don't understand what you are saying to me?I'm a pensioner because deep
health problems, I can notpay for this important studies. You can not
interpret thatI say that this is not valid. That I was suggesting the PIE is
not very nice. You can not understand something like this.
But I can not learn by this official way - for instance thereis not in Rio
and São Paulo, and Porto Alegre that stay themain PIE representants in
Brazil??? Where are they? I never know when you Mike, are trying to help or
joking with persons... I was only trying to stay in touch with your post.
And you call me about Rio.
There was no big planes destructing the Redemptor Christ in Rio, yet...
that I have the notice. I don't understand about what you are really talking
about. Sorry. I live in state Paraná almostMato Grosso do Sul, Almost
Paraguay.... I cant travel to Rioin order to help people in convulsive
social situation there.
And I really dont understand. This is not only because my bad English, but
I have no intelectual resources to understand yourstatements. This is what I
can finally conclude.

This is the last time I apologize to say something stupid here.
And you don'y need unsubscribe me, I will do this by myself bythe correct
Achilles Delari Junior.Umuarama, Paraná, Brazil.
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2010 10:59:55 -0800
Subject: Re: [xmca] LSV- Dynamic Assessment-Feurestein-Kozulin Article
From: lchcmike@gmail.com
To: achilles_delari@hotmail.com
CC: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu

We read about the situation in Rio, Achilles, but it is difficult to feel
from so far away. Your note reminds us of the personal nature of the
violence and the conditions that engender it. At a distance it looks

You also remind me of the economic links of our practices intended to
"promote development"  if they are adopted outside of the academic hothouse.
Perhaps an automated DA program will be written and will become the favored
means of instruction at those high dollar DA academies you write of!

Invest now  :-)

On Sat, Nov 27, 2010 at 9:41 AM, Achilles Delari Junior<
achilles_delari@hotmail.com>  wrote:

Thank you very much, I was familiar with the idea of "dinamic assessment",
since article from Brown and Ferrara (1985), that I read around 1992-1993.
But until know, have not put nothing similar in practice.
Unfortunetally I am more emotionally ill than the people I hope someday to
help. I apreciate very much ideas from Feurstein too, but, in Brazil there
are no other way to learn "PEI - programa de enriquecimento instrumental"
"Program of Instrumental Enrichement" - without many many dolars... Then,
perhaps this article could give us some help and hope. For my friends that
are sufficiently strong to stay at the front...

Thank you very much.
Achilles from Brazil.

Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2010 09:12:30 -0800
From: lchcmike@gmail.com

To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
CC: alexk@icelp.org.il
Subject: [xmca] LSV- Dynamic Assessment-Feurestein-Kozulin Article

This summary by Alex Kozulin, taken from the web, may be helpful for those
who are unfamiliar with the notion of dynamic assessment that plays a
central role in the P&L article.


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