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Re: [xmca] Re: microgenesis?

I will read the Wertsch puzzle, Mike. It is good to see (I think) that we are getting closer to the same page at last. I have reservations about seeking a context-independent meaning for "development" which does not constantly refer back to achievement of adult self-determination qua citizenship, which, as it happens, can be quite safely taken for granted in the case of elementary school children learning to read. Could I just mention, on the off-chance that it may be useful, the allusion I made to the Hegelian concept of "illusory." This means that a concept (form of activity within a situation) may appear, but then may turn out to be "illusory," a flash in the pan, so to speak. This is kind of the other side of "development." It does not provide something which can be built upon.

I turn to my reading for today ...

mike cole wrote:
I believe you are correct, Andy, it is indeed a germ cell approach to the acquisition of reading where "the whole task of reading" is present as an interactional "force field" within the setting. Precisely for this reason reading is not reduced to decoding, but no serious literacy scholar does. 
The big trick as the matter is usually formulated is that you first get the decoding right and then when it is automated or as it is automated, reading as comprending/interpreting the world emerges. That is sort of the Jean Chall approach, which should not be dismissed although I disagree with it; she was a very experienced, smart, scholar. But the problem with treating things in this level 1-level 2, lower-higher, order in organizing acquistion is that you are missing the "structure of the whole" at the beginning, reducing, too often, acquistion of reading to stimulus-response learning -- which in the cases of acquiring English literacy can be a challenge, ours being a mongrel language.

But all of this speaks to the question of what is meant by development in this entire line of discourse. Generality of a conceptual change is certainly an aspect of what is meant, along with generality of how one is treated by others. But always and again, at what scale? In relation to what other scales?

I am attaching an early Jim Wertsch paper that illustrates clearly the puzzle experimental procedure and how he and colleagues wrote about
it early on. It is the kind of study Vera was referring to. I attach it as a means of making it possible to establish joint reference for those among us who are unfamiliar with the evidence being rererred to.


On Sun, Oct 14, 2012 at 7:50 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
OK, I get what you want to discuss, Mike. I guess you posed the question in terms of learning vs development in response to criticism posed in those terms, but the whole controversy seems to function as a destraction  (Freudian typing mistake), doesn't it? Given all the caveats I so heavily laboured in my contributions, there is really no problem with learning which is taking place within the ZPD being called "microgenesis." The momentary formation of an action which lies outside the ZPD is not developmental for the child, so the situation is "illusory" (to use a Hegelian term), so it makes sense to restrict the term "microgenesis" to formation of actions-within-a-situation which child-and-carers can and can only manage with the carers assisting the child, and the child cannot yet manage alone. It is certainly obvious that ontogenetic development cannot happen without such accomplishments.

Going to your PS, David tells us that Vygotsky got the one-step-two-step quip from Koffka. It ties up with Vera's observation about "generalisation" of a new achievement, doesn't it. I guess that does not happen instantly.

I would like to see you pursue the idea that Davydov's (and Vygotsky and Marx and Hegel and Goethe's) idea of "germ cell" contains the germ of the question you want answered here. I am a little torn by the proposition because, on the one hand, I am drawn back to learning-perspectives which have a whole subject matter in mind (e.g. comparing objects as the germ cell for mathematical reasoning) and a conception of the germ cell which is not just a reified object or an isolated action, but self-consciously references a situation. But those two takes on the idea don't really conflict, do they? That what was so impressive about the paper you shared: the team went to the whole situation to redefine the problem of reading, not just print, but "the world."

I would like to hear your thoughts about this question. Wasn't the idea of reading being "expanding the ability to mediate one's interactions with the environment by interpreting text" the germ cell (if only it could be formulated as such) of Question Asking Reading? Isn't there a germ cell of microgenesis somewhere in there?


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