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[Xmca-l] Re: poverty/class


Thanks for the article.The ideas are not completely new to me; even
the link with the great anthropological tradition in linguistics of
Sapir, Whorf and Boas that joins you to Halliday is something I have
heard you articulate many times. But they are presented more
forcefully than ever, and the tie to Bruner is quite new (I had always
thought of Bruner as a wartime social behaviorist, centrally
responsible for the distortions of the "scaffolding" reading of

Labov is also in that great tradition. I have enormous respect for
him, not least because, like you and quite unlike me, he is STILL
doing important work in the inner cities, teaching kids to read and
write. His work on the grammar of AAVE seems like a waystage between
Hymes on the one hand and Heath on the other. But like so many of that
great tradition in linguistics, his strength is empirical strength and
not theoretical strength.

Take his famous paper on narrative structure: these are categories
which emerge from and are largely confined to the data. His reading of
Bernstein hopelessly shallow; he just cannot take on board the whole
argument about the strong and weak ways of framing knowledge, and as a
result he ends up with a caricature rather than a fair understanding.
(Ruqaiya Hasan notes, correctly, that Labov barely bothers to cite

Yes, I too have trouble with what you call the extreme forms of
Bernstein's theory (although I note that for the most part they are
not really Bernstein's). By the time children are in middle school,
they don't really talk like their parents any more; they talk like
each other. But I am willing to accept that by the time they get to
middle school, it may be too late; language development consists of
many roads not taken (how way leads on way!).

My wife complains that the Korean system (and of course the Chinese
system too) is unforgiving; the child takes the college entrance
examination at the end of high school and the child's fate is sealed.
This is not strictly true (she herself took the exam four times and
eventually got in). But even if it were true, that would make it a
system that is rather less unforgiving than the American one.

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

On 25 March 2014 10:06, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
> David--
> I want strongly to agree with you and Michael that
> we all know that privileged genres privilege the
> privileged, but the question is what to do about it
> That is, the rich get richer aka the "Mathew effect" - to s/he who has be
> given."
> I am still considering with the notion that "childism" equals pre-formism.
> Just as pushing the bernsteinian codes to extremes is now well understood
> to be a mistake, so is the mistake of underestimating the significant
> culturally mediated, socially organized, development of the psychological
> capacities of young children.
> How that defeats the Mathew effect remains the issue.
> One thing we can do is to try to avoid encouraging it when fooling
> ourselves into thinking that we are defeating it.
> See attached
> mike
> On Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 3:47 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Michael and Anna:
>> Halliday points out that there really isn't any necessary connection
>> between, say, preformism and the idea that the child "learns by
>> setting up hypothetical rules of grammar and matching them against
>> what he hears", nor is there some kind of logical link between
>> empiricism and "associationist, stimulus response" models of the
>> learning process (2004: 29). We can easiliy imagine preformist models
>> that don't depend on the freestanding autonomous child as little
>> scientist, and we can also imagine empiricist models that don't
>> involve associationist psychology. Similarly, I think that although
>> historically there was a very strong and long lasting marriage between
>> behaviorism in learning theory and structuralism in language theory in
>> language teaching which lasted most of the twentieth century, the fact
>> that we now have two very different communicative language teaching
>> methods (a British version which jettisons structuralism but keeps
>> behaviorism in a social-behaviorist form and an American one which
>> jettisons behaviorism but keeps structuralism in a Chomskyan one)
>> there isn't any necessary link between the theory of language and the
>> theory of learning.
>> Greg asked me to comment on what I thought the ramifications of
>> "childism' were for language research AND for teaching. That seems to
>> me to be two different topics, although of course they are related. So
>> what I said was that Halliday considered "childism" to be a kind of
>> preformism. I think that's right. On the separate topic of teaching, I
>> thought that "childism" sometimes demands that children exercise free
>> will where no free will is yet possible, and I thought the anecdote
>> about Summerhill was a pretty good illustration of that. Actually, the
>> link that Ana posted pretty much confirms that view; you can certainly
>> see that the gentleman in question is in fact white, British, and a
>> native speaker of the English language.
>> Let me attempt a very brief reply to the point that Michael raises,
>> namely that we all know that privileged genres privilege the
>> privileged, but the question is what to do about it. First of all, I
>> think that doing something about it requires recognizing that "it"
>> exists. We don't do that if we consider that saying that Berstein has
>> a "deficit" model of language proficiency constitutes a refutation of
>> Bernstein. In fact, what Bernstein is saying is preciselyt hat
>> privileged genres privilege the privileged, and labeling this a
>> "deficit" model seems to me to be a way of implying that by
>> recognizing this reality Bernstein is somehow seeking to blame the
>> victim. That really doesn't follow at all, particularly if we reject
>> preformism; the "deficit" simply does not and cannot lie in the
>> learner him or herself. Secondly, I think that what Halliday would say
>> is that doing something about it requires us to get outside the
>> privileged genre and see it as a genre, not as a latent ability in the
>> child and still less as conterminous with or even a necessary
>> component of the linguistic environment. This seems empowering to me,
>> and not only to the underprivileged learner.
>> David Kellogg
>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>> -----------------------------------------
> cut off by mike cole. check xmca for the rest of the thread minus the
> trailing
Status: O