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Re: [xmca] Re: microgenesis?

As a fellow lurker, I'd support the public continuation of the discussion, too. I think there's something to be said for this type of "active reception" and our own microgenetic developmental potential...

Rémi A. van Compernolle
Assistant Professor of Second Language Acquisition & French and Francophone Studies
Department of Modern Languages
Carnegie Mellon University
Baker Hall A60M

On Oct 13, 2012, at 5:20 PM, C Barker <C.Barker@mmu.ac.uk> wrote:

> I'm a silent watcher and listener too. I'd be sorry if you all went 'off line'.
> I found Andy's distinction between types of development - 'gradual' or 'lytic' vs 'leaping' - provocaztive and rewarding.
> Colin Barker
> ________________________________________
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] on behalf of Larry Purss [lpscholar2@gmail.com]
> Sent: 13 October 2012 22:07
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Re: microgenesis?
> I would like to mention that I am enjoying *listening in* to this topic.
> It is currently outside my ZPD to contribute, so am staying silent.
> However, exploring the development of *present moments* [Daniel Stern's
> term] is a topic that I'm appreciating trying to grasp through this
> dialogue.
> Larry
> On Sat, Oct 13, 2012 at 1:42 PM, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>wrote:
>> I was just writing my half-piece, when yours came in, Mike.  If you go
>> off-line cc me too, please.
>> Actually, I think this is material that is central (and am busy
>> studying/thinking about it).  I'd be rather intrigued to hear how this
>> topic is not relevant to other XMCAers.
>> My 1/2 piece:
>> I think the neoformation comprises the starting point for distinguishing
>> development and learning.  If one wanted to treat "microdevelopment" as a
>> class of development, rather than a contributing (learning) step towards
>> development, then microdevelopment would need to make clear this
>> occurrence.
>> Our 17 month year old went through quite a quick transformation of
>> competently completing a wooden jigsaw-like puzzle recently (over a period
>> of a week).  From my observations, I think the key difference was practice
>> at looking at photographic pictures and recognising corresponding similar
>> objects.  The week following a confused and much assisted attempt at the
>> puzzles, he sat me down and completed the puzzle five times over
>> unassisted.  What I noticed is that he was looking much more at the edges
>> of the pieces and scanning the slots, in addition to a memory for where
>> they belong.  I think this kind of looking entailed a new way of completing
>> the task.  And indeed his confidence in the task transformed his whole
>> approach to it -- no more hiding of those frustrating pieces...
>> I could think of alternative situations in which a learning act does not
>> really assist with new set of relations between functions, but rather a
>> further bedding down of a particular behaviour.  But then there are many
>> social occasions in which a refined technical expertise is required that,
>> having passed a threshold of acceptance, will then support further
>> development.
>> The problem of ages seems, from my current readings, to be a bit weak.
>> Whilst disavowing Piagetian stages it does seem to precariously follow
>> along similar lines.  The notion of culturally influenced/predicated ages
>> seems in general fine to me, but again I would expect more than this, I
>> think that for development in its fullness to occur we would need to be
>> thinking about the continual demands upon the agent and their change in the
>> object of their activity -- a certain degree of "uprooting", of going
>> beyond comfort zones.
>> Huw
>> On 13 October 2012 21:33, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Hi Andy--
>>> I made it home through a ton of LA traffic alive, which, microgenetically
>>> feels good whatever the larger significance.
>>> When you write
>>> "I personally regard it as a matter or "mere words" whether "child  X at
>>> last managing to recognize the difference between d and b today," for
>>> example, is described as a development" it is clear that you and I are
>> not
>>> close enough to the same topic for me to know how to make progress.
>>> It also appears that no more than four of the some 700 people on xmca
>>> give a damn about this topic, so lets go offline about it, cc'ing Greg,
>> and
>>> David,
>>> if he has patience to hang with us.
>>> mike
>>> On Sat, Oct 13, 2012 at 8:44 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>>>> **
>>>> Yeah, whoever translated Vygotsky's "Problem of Age" is responsible. It
>>>> just means *gradual*. So in a process of development, you have
>>>> alternating critical and lytical phases, as in stepwise processes.
>>>> Andy
>>>> Greg Thompson wrote:
>>>> Apologies for the intrusion, but I had a quick point of clarification,
>>> for
>>>> the uninitiated, what is meant by "lytic"?
>>>> (all I could come up with pertained to "lysis" or the breaking down of
>>>> cells - which would seem to suggest a different sense of "development"
>> -
>>> a
>>>> breaking down so that things can be reintegrated. Is that the idea?).
>>>> -greg
>>>> On Sat, Oct 13, 2012 at 9:15 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
>> wrote:
>>>>> I don't know where Americans being dolts comes into it, Mike. Some of
>> my
>>>>> best friends are Americans. :) But let's move on from that.
>>>>> The point, as I see it, is trying to extract from what we can
>> reaonsably
>>>>> understand Vygotsky to be  saying, something which we believe could be
>>>>> correct and significant. To do this I think we have to understand the
>>>>> concept of "development" always in a particular context. A truism for
>>>>> anyone here I think. What it means to me is that I cannot just ask:
>> what
>>>>> transformations in psychological functioning constitutes
>> "development"?
>>> The
>>>>> necessary, relevant context is what role in what cultural and
>> historical
>>>>> community is the person to play, in the short term and in the longer
>>> term.
>>>>> So the question of what constitutes development is age-specific,
>>> culturally
>>>>> specific and future-oriented.
>>>>> (Of course, the world changes, and what was development yesterday may
>>>>> become oppressive and detestable tomorrow and vice versa, but let's
>>>>> abstract from cultural and historical change for the moment.)
>>>>>> From the standpoint of natural science what I have posed is an
>>> absurdity
>>>>> and incompatible with basic tenets of science ... because I have made
>>>>> development dependent on events and relations in the future. In my
>>> opinion,
>>>>> that is just as it should be: kids go to school "for a purpose" -
>>> although
>>>>> what we mean by "purpose" in this context (the child's? the parents'?
>>> the
>>>>> state's? in retrospect? under advice? sponatneous?). But again, let's
>>> just
>>>>> put the problems arising from the idea of human actions being part of
>>>>> object-oriented activities to the side for the moment.
>>>>> So you ask: "what does the word DEVELOPMENT mean in the concept of a
>>> zone
>>>>> of proximal DEVELOPMENT?"
>>>>> I have to ask /which/ zone of proximal development, which crisis or
>>> lytic
>>>>> period are we talking about. Now I guess we can manage to give a
>> general
>>>>> answer to the question: general questions require general answers.
>> What
>>>>> "development" means is relative to which ZPD you are talking about. On
>>> the
>>>>> other hand, the presence of the ZPD itself depends on the development
>>> being
>>>>> posed. Achievment of a specific new mode of action with those around
>>> you,
>>>>> transforming your relations and your identity and your actions in the
>>>>> social situation depends on the expectations of those around you,
>>> according
>>>>> to broader cultural expectations and possibilities.
>>>>> A teacher or other "helper" interested in fostering development (if
>> they
>>>>> can be presumed to reflect general, broader cultural expectations) has
>>> in
>>>>> mind what new functioning will be a necessary step towards the child
>>>>> becoming an autonomous citizen of the community.
>>>>> As Vygotsky insists, this poses for the child and her "helper" two
>>>>> different kinds of situation: either /lytical/ development or
>> /critical/
>>>>> development. Lytical development is gradual and prepares the basis for
>>>>> developmental leap. To argue whether the gradual progress made in
>>>>> strengthening the relevant psychologhical functions in this phase is
>> or
>>> is
>>>>> not development is in my opinion /just words/. Gradual accumulation of
>>>>> strength in those activities which the child is basically able to do,
>>> but
>>>>> maybe not very confidentally and well is a necessary preparation for
>>>>> transcending their age-role and entering into a phase of critical
>>>>> development in which they have a chance of successfully coming out the
>>>>> other side. It is by completion of the critical phase of development -
>>> the
>>>>> leap - which transforms the child's identity and role, that "/the
>>>>> development" is realised/. All the preparation in the world proves to
>> be
>>>>> not development if it is not realised in facilitating the critical
>>>>> transformation.
>>>>> So, excuse me please for however imperfectly rehearsing egg-sucking
>> for
>>>>> grandma's erudition.
>>>>> I personally regard it as a matter or "mere words" whether "child  X
>> at
>>>>> last managing to recognise the difference between d and b today," for
>>>>> example, is described as a development. In the context of course it
>> is;
>>> it
>>>>> is a step. You want to call that a "microgenetic development"?
>>> Personally I
>>>>> don't have a problem with that. David may, but paraphrasing Oscar
>> Wilde:
>>>>> "Microgenesis is not one of my words."  But if the child at last
>>> managed to
>>>>> repeat the Gospel According to St Luke by rote, and you wanted to
>>> describe
>>>>> this as a microgenetic development, I would want to hear the
>>> developmental
>>>>> plan that made that claim coherent.
>>>>> Where if anywhere does this leave us?
>>>>> Andy
>>>>> My apologies for using so many words to say so little.
>>>>> Just trying to be clear and careful.
>>>>> mike cole wrote:
>>>>>> Hi Andy--
>>>>>> Well to begin with, thanks for keeping the discussion alive. I am
>> away
>>>>>> from home without books or control of my time, so I want to ask a
>>> question
>>>>>> that may highlight what is central to my queries here.
>>>>>> If what you write is correct, what does the word DEVELOPMENT mean in
>>> the
>>>>>> concept of a zone of proximal DEVELOPMENT? Its all fine and dandy to
>>> point
>>>>>> out what dolts Americans are for not understanding that learning
>> leads
>>>>>> DEVELOPMENT in classroom instruction, that but classroom lessons are
>>>>>> clusters of events that take place in microgenetic time WITHIN
>>> ontogenetic
>>>>>> lythic periods.
>>>>>> Where does that leave us?
>>>>>> mike
>>>>>> PS- the url below lays out in some detail where the idea of
>> acquisition
>>>>>> of reading as a cultural-historical developmental process. Old and
>>> never
>>>>>> published. But at least we might refine what is indexed by the phrase
>>>>>> "learning to read."
>>>>>> http://lchc.ucsd.edu/People/NEWTECHN.pdf
>>>>>> On Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 7:32 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
>>> <mailto:
>>>>>> ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>>>>>    So this thread does not die ...
>>>>>>    You said, Mike, "So I am seeing the same solution to thinking
>>>>>>    about the ontogeny/microgenesis relationships by analogy with the
>>>>>>    phylogeny/cultural-history relation."
>>>>>>    I don't see the analogy there. Phylogeny and ethnogeny are two
>>>>>>    (overlapping and mutually determining) processes with two very
>>>>>>    distinct material bases, viz., genes and artefacts. But learning
>>>>>>    to read/write and development of abstract thinking (and other
>>>>>>    leading activities in a developmental ZPD) is not such a
>> relation,
>>>>>>    it is a relation between critical phases and lytic (gradual)
>>>>>>    phases of development. This is quite a different relationship.
>>>>>>    The analogy I would see for something which couold be called
>>>>>>    microgenesis would be the /situation/: a concept develops
>>>>>>    momentrily in a person and their actions in a situation. The
>>>>>>    situation is not a factor in phylo- or ethnogensis, it
>> essentially
>>>>>>    belongs to the very short time scale, and its material basis is
>>>>>>    activity. I grant that no-one might use "microgenesis" in that
>> way
>>>>>>    and no-one may be doing research into that process these days. I
>>>>>>    don't know. But the situation is a distinct material basis for
>>>>>>    development and one on which Vygotsky did a great deal of work.
>> On
>>>>>>    the other hand, I think /all/ processes of development have both
>>>>>>    critical and lytical phases (c.f. Gould's punctuated evolution).
>>>>>>    What do you think?
>>>>>>    Andy
>>>>> __________________________________________
>>>>> _____
>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>>>> --
>>>> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
>>>> 883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
>>>> Department of Anthropology
>>>> Brigham Young University
>>>> Provo, UT 84602
>>>> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
>>>> --
>>>> ------------------------------
>>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>>> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
>>>> Book: http://www.brill.nl/concepts
>>>> __________________________________________
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