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Re: [xmca] Peter Smagorinsky on concepts

Hi Anthony & Peter

I just finished watching the vimeo presentation.  Thank you for producing
this onderful CHAT and thinking out loud about concepts while we all listen
in. It was very helpful to have the concrete activity of gardening to help
ground the theoretical in the practical.  I also remember fondly the
extended conversation on "concepts" that was generated last April.

I want to respond to a few of the ideas which generated further reflection
while I was listening.

Peter talked about "competing centers of gravity" and the fact that most
student teachers do not inhabit a conceptual home base from which to guide
their practice of teaching.  My reflection is if this is the reality for
teacher's then why is there no development of a "shared" center of gravity
which develops over time within specific schools?  I do believe that
Gadamer's notion of "shared understanding" LEADING to "self-understanding"
is a possible way of answering why no shared purpose [with shared concepts]
develops. It is because there are no opportunities for genuine
conversations to develop where one's suppositions are put at risk and
ruptures expected AND WELCOMED.  My other posts today give more elaboration
of this point.

[40 minutes] Affect and a strong sense of self leads to USING concepts more
effectively.  Yes, confidence leads to better practise [phronesis or
everyday concepts] but when reflecting on new teachers development why is
"meta-experience" impoverished [the WAY the teacher experiences her/his
experience]  Concepts when USED confidently support anticipation of future
experiences which lead to a SENSE of order and security [45 minutes]

[50 minute] Word meaning was explored and Peter critiqued the notion that a
concept develops by "weeding out" what doesn't belong. Peter suggested this
was too simple an answer. I agree. This way of framing concept development
ASSUMES a single framework or tradition within which the concept gets
elaborated and develops.  But how the concept is USED within different
contexts may actually require learning multiple different meanings of the
SAME word with different meanings and each use of the word meaning must be
developed.  Onceagain Gadamer's notion of "understanding" as dialogical
perceives word meaning as developing multiple meanings within contrasting
contexts but because we USE the same word we think we are using the word in
the same way.  As Peter emphasizes concepts are fuzzy and nobody owns the
concept. However within genuine dialogue as we USE the words in shared
practices we also develop shared understandings.  If each teacher lives
within a classroom world where there is no opportunity for shared use of
the words, then the concepts will remain more fuzzy and confusing.  Without
genuine dialogue words IN COMMON have less chance to develop.

[54 minute]  Word meaning is "perspective driven".  YES. Therefore, we
should find practices where our perspectives are explored in a spirit of
fallibility and openness to having our perspectives challenged and our
presuppositions questioned. But in order to participate in these particular
TYPES of conversations requires a safe context in which to be vulnerable to
having one's particular prejudices put in "play".

Those are a few reflections generated. Once again, Anthony and Peter, thank
you for producing this video and sharing in in the public domain.

On Sat, Jan 14, 2012 at 9:50 AM, ANTHONY M BARRA <tub80742@temple.edu>wrote:

> Does anyone remember that xmca discussion on concepts from last April that
> generated over 100 responses?  It's a fascinating re-read, especially in a
> single retrospective stream.  I grappled with it last week, alongside Peter
> Smagorinsky's new book, *Vygotsky and Literacy Research: a Methodological
> Framework*<
> https://www.sensepublishers.com/product_info.php?products_id=1374&osCsid=1a7
> >,
> before interviewing Peter for the Vimeo CHAT group-page.  Peter's personal
> story of appropriating Vygotsky and his discussion of the "fuzzy" interplay
> between everyday and academic concepts were particularly interesting to
> me.  As were the many true-life landscaping metaphors he used to discuss
> concept development.
> Anyway, the interview is here
> <http://vimeo.com/groups/chat/videos/34706097>if anyone would like to
> check it out.  *full url:
> http://vimeo.com/groups/chat/videos/34706097
> Thanks,
> Anthony Barra
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