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Re: [xmca] Dynamic Assessment in L2

Many thanks for responding to so many points, Jim and Matt. I hope others
will join in, but let me make one general point and then ask a specific
answer to one question (seems long enough!).

General point: I have no interest at all in messing with people's self
identifications around different configurations of ideas and practices.
But I am really interested in what makes the configurations different and
what difference that difference makes  (or does not). To give an example: I
commented on a set of papers flying under the SCT banner edited by Jim
Wertsch. What i noted as common to all of the papers was that they were all
synchronically oriented, even though in each case knowledge of the history
of the practices under examination was quite relevant to understanding them.
Its as if the cultural in sociocultutral did not take seriously culture as
an historical process.
In other contexts all of the authors had displayed interest in history, but
not when they came together under this banner. Come to think of it, I
believe Giyoo Hatano wrote a commentary about this very topic in the Forman
et al Contexts of Learning Book. Gotta go dig that out and send around.

 Let me clarify why my attention was caught by the definition of education
as artificial. You summarize matters thus:
5. Our reference to Vygotsky's characterization of education as "the
artificial development of the child" is not intended as a negative stance on
education. We interpret V's use of "artificial" (assuming the translation
from the Russian is accurate) here as a way of distinguishing development
through participation in cultural activities and through the appropriation
of (cultural) concepts from natural processes of growth. Indeed, we believe
that it might be possible to construe V's use of Education in the passage we
cite as referring not only to formal education but to all forms of education
provided by a society whether in or out of places recognized as school.
I have no problem at all of thinking about education as an artificial system
of human activity of enormous historical importance. Amen.
But unless Vygotsky used the term for upbringing in the original, I
seriously doubt that he was putting formal education in schools and
education in the very broad sense that applies to the deliberate
organization of children's learning in small, face to face, pre/non-literate

I am really uncertain of what you mean by "through the appropriation of
(cultural) concepts from natural processes of growth."  In particular, what
does natural mean?  My first impulse is to interpret this as saying that
cultural concepts ("nauty child") could be acquired/appropriated
biologically. If so, lets discuss how that is possible. My second impulse is
to interpret you as meaning "acquired with no explicit instruction" (e.g. we
do not need to teach L1 -- its "only" triggered).

If any of this is worth thinking about, its because the learning/teaching
implications of the "formal/informal" distinctiton is believed by many to
make a real difference in subsequent intellectual development.

On Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 8:46 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Thanks for that Jim.
> Rather than divert the list from discussion of the important issues of L2
> and SCT/CHAT, can I just refer to
> http://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/t/r.htm#truth
> which reflects where I'm coming from. A Google search revealed "practice is
> the criterion of truth" even in my own writing, but in fact it is not at all
> that simple. The entry refers to Engels, Lenin, Ilyenkov and Spirkin. Marx
> never actually talks about a criterion of truth.
> Andy
> James P. Lantolf wrote:
>> 2. With regard to the 11th Thesis and the centrality of praxis in Vygotsky
>> theory, we are not suggesting that theory/philosophy is unimportant or
>> should be abandoned. Indeed, many of us in applied linguistics are rooted in
>> the humanities as much (or perhaps more) than in the social sciences. We
>> continue to read and rely on modern philosophers, especially philosophers of
>> language to inform our work. Lantolf and Thorne (2006) integrate
>> Wittgenstein's notion of "language game" as well as Voloshinov's notion of
>> utterance and sign in theorizing language. Most recently, the new monograph
>> by Searle "Making the Social World" has some very important things to say
>> about the role of language in social formation that we think resonates well
>> with Vygotsky's views on thinking and speaking. Having said this, we don't
>> agree with Andy's comment to the effect that practice is the truth criterion
>> of theory is not Marxism. Rather than launch into a lengthy explanation, we
>> will mention some interesting works written in the 1970s that address the
>> topic far better than we could here: Adolfo Sanchez Vazquez (1977). "The
>> Philosophy of Praxis." Richard Bernstein (1971). "Praxis and Action." Alan
>> Buss (1979). "Dialectic Psychology." We also find support for our position
>> in the more recent writing of Anna Stetsenko.
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