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Re: [xmca] Article for Discussion
Thanks for "taking the plunge". I always tend to take the plunger, I'm afraid, and this time is no exception.
The author describes "acquisition" and "participation" as METAPHORS for learning. Of course, in one sense, they are. All language use is metaphorical, in that it involves using something to stand for something else (e.g. sound for a word, word for a meaning).
I think what the author means is that are COGNITIVE metaphors; that is, they use an IDEA to stand for another IDEA to which it is basically unrelated (because otherwise it would be a cognitive metonymy).
So for example "acquistion" can be rendered as the cognitive metaphor "LEARNING IS BANKING" and participation might be "LEARNING IS A PARTY". It's easy to see that both metaphors (yea, all metaphors) are true up to a point and then radically false.
The author then opposes a "sociocultural approach" and a "positioning perspective" as a way of remedying the problems with these metaphors. But there are problems with these remedies.
First of all, I'd like to know in what sense "acquisition" and "positioning" are not already sociocultural approaches. There is SOMETHING that is acquired when we learn to pole vault (Mind as Action) or when we learn a second language (Poehner and Lantolf, last issue). We often speak of individualistic models of instruction as being somehow non-socicultural, but we forget that competition, on which these models are most definitely based, is a definite social relation, and actually an inevitable one given our epoch. As for "positioning" it seems to me inherently sociocultural.
Secondly, "approach" is also cognitive metaphor, and in fact it's one that contains both the "acquisition" metaphor and the "participation" metaphor ("LEARNING IS A SEARCH", "LEARNING IS HUNTING AN ANIMAL"). Much the same thing can be said about "positioning" ("LEARNING IS A GAME", "LEARNING IS WAR", "LEARNING IS PRETENSE").
I guess I think that replacing one metaphor with another, very similar, metaphor does very little by itself; what we need to know is:
a) where the the original metaphor failed and
b) how the new one fails to fail at that precise point.
Seoul National University of Education
--- On Wed, 3/2/11, Larry Purss <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
From: Larry Purss <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: [xmca] Article for Discussion
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
Date: Wednesday, March 2, 2011, 8:23 AM
I thought I would take the plunge and open up a conversation on this
fascinating and well crafted article. It is discussing themes close to my
heart and I was looking forward to reading on this topic.
I want to start with a reminder that Mead, in his later years, preferred the
phrase "being IN the perspective of the other" rather than the more familiar
"taking the role of the other".
David Ki suggests that we can consider learning from the perspective of
skills, constructions or dispositions. This article is an elaboration of
education as forming dispositions. It is exploring a particular perspective
or bracketing a particular figured world that explains the formation of
dispositions through BECOMING a participant in a practice community.
Andre's article is written from a particular figured world located at Oslo
University College and his discourse framework emerges from this particular
public sphere. In other words he is writing from within a space or
metaphorical container that is pre-figuring the medical world he is about to
construct as a figured world. He exists and is participating IN the
perspectives of others as he writes about the processes of developing
dispositions within educational communities of practice.
With the qualification that Andre is exploring a bracketed figured world
from a particular perspective I want to say how much I appreciated his
linking positional discursive theory with cultural theory to create a more
elaborate sociocultural figured world that sees these alternative
perspectives as COMPLEMENTARY.
The method of analysis is focusing on two alternative constructions of
participating in a community of practice and the objects of analysis are the
retrieved memories OF these alternative perspectives. Therefore this method
is accessing the participants antecedent memories or
"reflective-functioning" ABOUT the process of becoming actors in figured
This bracketed procedure does not address mimesis [see Merlin Donald] which
is bracketing the pre-linguistic aspect of positioning theory which is
another aspect of identity formation. However, within Andre's particular
figured world perspective which embraces the metaphor of learning as
participation [not acquisition] his article was very helpful in connecting
discursive and cultural perspectives in a more coherent community of
practice figured world. Identity and world are elaborated as simultaneous
processes which rejects the notion of a "same context" context and
highlights that the same metaphorical discursive and cultural "space"
simultaneously contains multiple situated contexts
My final thought is David Ke's caution about positioning theory as planting
our feet on the ground as preparation for "launching into action to change
our figured worlds. I wonder if it is necessary to be contained within a
coherent figured world as an active participant in a community of practice
as a way to to get in position to change our figured worlds. As we develop
reflective and reflexive perspectives [perspectives on perspectives] Figured
worlds are constituted as an IMPLICIT process but we slowly begin to make
these processes that form dispositions more explicit [reflective] and
therefore become more able to act to alter our figured worlds. In other
words must we first become subjected within a figured world in order to
plant our feet on the ground before launching out to change our figured
worlds "intentionally"? Are perspectives real and objective/subjective?
On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 10:57 AM, mike cole <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Apologies for dropping the ball on posting the article for discussion from
> our recent poll. The
> article is
> Towards a Sociocultural Perspective on Identity Formation in Education
> It can be found, gratis, for discussion, at lchc.ucsd.edu/MCA
> xmca mailing list
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