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Re: [xmca] Peter Smagorinsky on concepts

In the 1850s James Clerk Maxwell developed his differential equations representing electromagnetic fields. Whatever techniques of teaching and learning someone is exposed to, a person gets to know these equations, the modern concept of electromagnetism. It is really not the point whether they read it in a library book, have it explained by a teacher, work it out in a series of guided experiments, but I'll bet my life that someone will not acquire this concept by people 'nudging each other'. Somehow that work which Maxwell did 160 years ago has to make its way to you. By "instruction" I do not mean some particular style of teaching and learning which is apparently despised. I just mean whatever process a concept created in unique conditions decades or centuries ago reaches the mind of another person. I simply do not believe that a secondary school student literally rediscovers Marxwell's equations even with the help of peers. Books are the archetypal vehicles of social knowledge and intruction is the archetypal process of explaining what is in a book.


Christine Schweighart wrote:
Ok - but what is left open is where that comes from. I feel 'book-learning' or 'formal instruction' as terms are imbued with 'didactic directing' , whereas self-directing' ( of participating persons, between each other) and 'nudging each other' to understandings are perhaps more authentic accounts..just that each time anew an ideal-typical path is synthesised not 'reproduced'. In this 'process' is not replicable, but 'recoverable' - in the knowing that significant moments might be appreciable for other settings - but not reconstructable. Perhaps that's less confusing, with the 'contamination' of understandings of 'action-research ' abounding from other traditions - more 'practice research'?

'Instruction' is a loaded term , I am recalling Peter Goodyear's predicament as editor of ' Instructional Science' , when I met him in 1997 he was deliberating renaming the journal, such was the 'crisis'. Although you flag that 'does not 'exclude'' - this can become 'lost' when a mainstream makes a distinction based upon 'instruction' as being of a form which does 'exclude' - and teasing out the difference becomes 'lengthy' and 'loses' large constituencies...
 I got stuck on this as follows:
Formal instruction as a term refers at once to both teaching and learning (Cole 2009), it is not a simple matter to convey this meaning. The first sentence of self definition from the Springer Journal ‘Instructional Science’ states

‘Instructional Science promotes a deeper understanding of the nature, theory, and practice of the instructional process and resultant learning.’ (Instructional Science 2010)

Where a great deal of confusion can be seen[1] <#_ftn1>, the product of the instructional process (of teaching-learning), cannot be ‘learning’ – which is within the process. I make a point of exploring this to be able to identify the essential relations of ‘formal instruction’ when taken with a teaching-learning meaning. The essential relations that arise from teaching-learning which could achieve development of theoretical thinking about regulatory agency relations as a product, cannot be the terms and relations expressed in this journal definition, for example.


[1] <#_ftnref1> The sentence itself is an expression of theory which is constituting practice- therefore it is tautological for these terms to be used within the definition. What remains is a declaration ‘ Instructional Science promotes a deeper understanding of the nature of the instructional process.’

Ah Mike's reference was

Cole, M. (2009). 'The Perils of Translation: A First Step in Reconsidering Vygotsky's Theory of Development in Relation to Formal Education.' /Mind, Culture, and Activity/ *16*(4):pp 291-295.

Let's go back to 'ideal typical path of development ( as 'process' : as in not a product).. I feel I 'slip' there..

On Tue, Jan 17, 2012 at 3:26 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    Christine Schweighart wrote:

        Perhaps you might expand 'book' or 'formal instruction' to include
        'action-research' [ as articulation of concept development which
        engendered  {valued/ acccomodated in collective}improvement of
        'form of
        living'] as a moment?? as distinct from personal sense, with some
        plausibility as social 'meaning' though maybe not 'book' or
        instruction' - - as 'where do these come from?' is the
        question that
        springs out - how does academic knowledge transform etc.

    Christine, I think it would surely only confuse things to include
    "action research" as an expansion of what is surely a well-known
    concept of "book learning" and/or "formal instruction." An ideal
    typical path of development does not "exclude" instruction which
    might be informal or may not use books. The point of using ideal
    typical concepts as a way of approaching a complex whole is not to
    try to include everything, but to grasp the essential nature of
    the whole. Imagine trying to do geometry without straight lines
    and circles, because we didn't want to "exclude" wiggly lines.


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*Andy Blunden*
Joint Editor MCA: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/18/1
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857

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