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RE: [xmca] "Rising to the concrete"

I've also found something similar in Scribner:
The novice enters the workplace with a stock of knowledge, some school-based and some experience-based, and with certain general problem-solving skills (e.g., mental rehearsal, means-end analysis). An important aspect of learning at work involves adapting this prior knowledge and these general skills to the accomplishment of the task at hand. Such adaptation proceeds by the individual's assimilation of specific knowledge about the objects and symbols the setting affords, and the actions (including cognitive actions) that work tasks require. Domain-specific knowledge reveals relationships that can be used to shortcut those stipulated in all-purpose algorithms; with domain-specific knowledge workers have greater opportunity to free themselves from algorithms and to invent flexible solution procedures. What emerges through this process is a qualitatively different organization of problem-solving procedures from that initially brought to the job. Problem-solving skill in this model implies not only knowledge and know-how but creativity-an attribute of the work group as a social entity if not of each individual within it. . . . Without minimizing the abstract processes involved, it seems appropriate to describe the primary course of attainment of problem-solving skills at work as a process of "concretization." Because of the relative neglect of this process in theory and research, and its educational implications, it warrants emphasis here. (p. 381)

The p# refers to the version of this paper in the Selected Writings of SS volume.

Peter Smagorinsky 
Distinguished Research Professor of English Education 
Department of Language and Literacy Education 
The University of Georgia 
309 Aderhold Hall 
Athens, GA 30602 

Advisor, Journal of Language and Literacy Education                                                       
Follow JoLLE on twitter @Jolle_uga

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Greg Thompson
Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 5:23 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [xmca] "Rising to the concrete"

Still in between boxes but came across this quote from Lenin today:
'In order to understand it is necessary empirically to begin understanding, study, to rise, from empiricism to the universal. In order to learn to swim it is necessary to get into the water<http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1914/cons-logic/ch03.htm#LCW38_205>
(found at:

and it reminded me of one of mike's favorite statements "rising to the concrete." Yet Mike's phrase appears quite different. So Mike, if you're out there, does your "rising to the concrete" bear any significant relation to Lenin's rising to the universal? They seem like very different concepts, no?


Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Sanford I. Berman Post-Doctoral Scholar
Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition Department of Communication University of California, San Diego http://ucsd.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
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