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Re: [xmca] Peter Smagorinsky on concepts
Thanks for your remarks on the video. I almost skipped replying in order
to immediately track down some info on Gadamer's notion of "shared
understanding" - but I'll look into that later on. I see you've written
about this in another thread, and I'm intrigued...
For now, I want to touch upon your closing paragraph, which I've found very
compelling. Building on the idea of word-meaning as "perspective-driven,"
you said that, as educators, "we should find practices where our
perspectives are explored in a spirit of fallibility and openness."
I had a professor who shared his motto with us - through song actually! -
on the first day of class: "Change my mind." He worked hard to create
contexts where (as you've put it) "our perspectives are explored in a
spirit of fallibility and openness to having our perspectives challenged
and our presuppositions questioned," and I benefited a great deal from
that. I remember writing a major paper in the form of a script, where I was
talking over coffee with three or four theorists that we'd read in class.
This assignment was indicative of the type of perspective-hopping we'd
regularly engage in.
You also suggest that "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.'" As a teacher, I've regularly
used in-role writing (i.e., writing *as* someone or something else) to help
students try on the perspectives of new characters and authors (and even
concepts) they meet, partly as a reading comprehension strategy. What's
interesting, in terms of your remarks, is that such school-sanctioned
"people-hopping" also creates a safe context of trying out/on perspectives
outside one's immediate experience, by temporarily *being* someone else.
This is one type of practice that might fit the bill, I suppose.
On Sun, Jan 15, 2012 at 9:58 PM, Larry Purss <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> 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 <email@example.com
> > Does anyone remember that xmca discussion on concepts from last April
> > generated over 100 responses? It's a fascinating re-read, especially in
> > single retrospective stream. I grappled with it last week, alongside
> > Smagorinsky's new book, *Vygotsky and Literacy Research: a Methodological
> > Framework*<
> > >,
> > before interviewing Peter for the Vimeo CHAT group-page. Peter's
> > story of appropriating Vygotsky and his discussion of the "fuzzy"
> > 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
> > NJ, USA
> > __________________________________________
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