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[Xmca-l] Re: Article on Positioning Theory



Could you consider substituting the word collusion for the word
collaboration,
Andy?
mike


On Sun, Mar 30, 2014 at 8:01 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Donna,
> I don't think there is a particular need to go in search of theories here.
> Positioning theory, which I gather (?) is the study of how people are
> positioned by and for collaboration, taken together with Vygotsky's
> cultural psychology and the tradition of acivity theory, seems quite enough
> for me. :) Vygotsky gave us an approach to how concepts are formed, through
> the collaborative use of tools and symbols, and it seems to me, that
> self-concept is an important limiting case of concept formation. I tend to
> see every collabortion as the active instantiation of a concept of "what we
> are doing together," which necessarily includes a diversity of actions by
> different individuals, and "different points of view."
>
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.mira.net/~andy/
>
>
> Donna Kotsopoulos wrote:
>
>> The idea of the positioning occurring before the collaboration has taken
>> place is consistent with Gee's idea about one storyline infecting another -
>> both at the group level and at the individual level. I believe that an
>> individual can rewrite those storylines or make conscious choices to adopt
>> a different version. I'm not fully familiar with this literature but I
>> think the theory of mind research and "theory of self" here would be a
>> useful.
>>   Donna Kotsopoulos, Ph.D.
>> Associate Professor
>> Faculty of Education & Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics
>> Wilfrid Laurier University
>> 75 University Avenue West, BA313K
>> Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3C5
>> (519) 884-0710 x 3953
>> www.wlu.ca/education/dkotsopoulos <http://www.wlu.ca/education/
>> dkotsopoulos>
>> www.wlu.ca/mathbrains <http://www.wlu.ca/mathbrains>
>>  DISCLAIMER: This e-mail and any file(s) transmitted with it, is intended
>> for the exclusive use by the person(s) mentioned above as recipient(s). Any
>> unauthorized distribution, copying or other use is strictly prohibited.
>> >>> On 3/29/2014 at 8:43 PM, in message <53376899.7060408@mira.net>,
>> Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>> I'm learning a lot from all this! :)
>> If (in my example of the artist hiring a technician) we were to ask "How
>> is the technician positioned as a technician and how is the artist
>> positioned as an artist?" I am assuming that my reader has acquired  the
>> same concepts of "technician" and "artist", that is, that they are
>> somewhat educated citizens of a society in which these "roles" (?) are
>> meaningful.
>> In other words, "positioning" is something which takes place to a great
>> extent before the collaborators meet.
>> Likewise, as Greg pointed out, the acceptable and expected modes of
>> collaboration are also created before the kids walk into the classroom.
>> So positioning and collaboration are cultural products which pre-exist
>> their instantiation in any collaborative act.
>> Andy
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> *Andy Blunden*
>> http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
>>
>>
>> Greg Thompson wrote:
>> > Lynda,
>> > Your email points to an interesting tension that I think is at the
>> center
>> > of the discussion of Donna's paper. On the one hand you note that
>> > collaboration is hard wired, biological, and (seemingly) inevitable. On
>> the
>> > other hand you point out that we have to teach children to collaborate,
>> and
>> > collaborative classrooms can be contrasted with traditional education
>> > (which is, by implication, not collaborative).
>> >
>> > I take Andy's point to be that even traditional education is
>> collaborative
>> > - just a different kind of collaboration from what you find in a
>> > "collaborative classroom." But the kind of collaboration we find in
>> > traditional classrooms might not be a good type of collaboration for
>> > everyone just as the "collaborative classrooms that Donna describes
>> appear
>> > not to be good for everyone.
>> >
>> > Thus, we see two notions of collaboration. One in which "collaboration"
>> is
>> > everywhere (even in traditional education!) and the other in which it
>> must
>> > be "accomplished" or "made" by particular means - "collaborative
>> > classrooms".
>> >
>> > That seems to me to be one of the central tensions between folks
>> discussing
>> > on the listserve.
>> >
>> > And it seems to me like there is some really important work still to be
>> > done in laying bare this contradiction between notions of
>> "collaboration"
>> > and notions of "classroom collaboration".
>> >
>> > For example, how can we find "collaboration" in unexpected places (e.g.
>> > "traditional education")? Similarly, how the different configurations of
>> > "collaboration" can be differently productive for different children.
>> And
>> > also important, as Donna has pointed out, how might "classroom
>> > collaboration" not be so "collaborative"?!
>> >
>> > So then with this distinction, we might say that "collaborative
>> classrooms"
>> > might not be a panacea, but we could hardly solve any of the many
>> problems
>> > that confront us without some form of "collaboration."
>> >
>> > That's just my two nickels worth.
>> > (same as yesterday's two cents but adjusted for inflation).
>> > -greg
>> >
>> > "But also when I am active scientifically, etc. - an activity which I
>> can
>> > seldom perform in direct community with others - then my activity is
>> > social, because I perform it as a man. Not only is the material of my
>> > activity given to me as a social product (as is even the language in
>> which
>> > the thinker is active): my own existence is social activity, and
>> therefore
>> > that which I make of myself, I make of myself for society and with the
>> > consciousness of myself as a social being."
>> > Marx, 1844, p. 298
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > On Sat, Mar 29, 2014 at 12:01 PM, Stone, Lynda <lstone@skymail.csus.edu
>> >wrote:
>> >
>> >
>> >> Hi Greg!
>> >>
>> >> Well I generally try to maintain my role as a lurker---but I'm
>> dropping in
>> >> to make
>> >> a  comment or two--hope they make sense and are of some help.
>> >>
>> >> Andy's point may be what is needed to shape the trajectory of the
>> >> conversation
>> >> around collaboration.  Although his reason may be grounded in a Marxist
>> >> angle, equally
>> >> important is a biological one.  We are hard wired to collaborate---we
>> come
>> >> with the
>> >> ability to engage in intersubjectivity, a fundamentally collaborative
>> >> process.  So, each
>> >> and every time peers, teachers and students, etc. come to some
>> relatively
>> >> shared
>> >> understandings, feelings, or interactively enact an identity, and so
>> >> forth, they are engaged
>> >> in collaborative acts, i.e.,more than one person/child taking part in
>> an
>> >> event/activity.  And,
>> >> because events/activities come into existence through discourse
>> practices
>> >> and are influenced
>> >> by the local culture (its historical past & connection to the larger
>> >> culture), to understand
>> >> collaboration from participants' point of view requires an
>> understanding
>> >> of the situation
>> >> they are in and how this  situation emerges over time---so,
>> collaboration
>> >> in educational settings
>> >> is not only a way of "rethinking/restructuring" engagement in contrast
>> to
>> >> traditional educational
>> >> practices--collaboration is   itself part of a developmental process,
>> just
>> >> as infants learn how over
>> >> time  to collaborate with their parents in different cultures.
>> >>
>> >> So, Andy's questions:   "What kinds of collaborations are needed at
>> this
>> >> moment?  And, "how
>> >> should they be configured?" can be combined with so many other
>> contextual
>> >> questions that can
>> >> help unravel what collaboration means and how should collaboration be
>> >> configured.  For example,
>> >> how do children come to value (or see as morally right)
>> >> helping/coordinating behaviors? Under
>> >> what circumstances to children collaborate (help) each other and how is
>> >> this related to the social
>> >> norms and expectations?  I have found that the context shapes what
>> >> collaboration means and as a
>> >> consequence influences the social processes that enable children to
>> >> cooperate (or not) with each other.
>> >> An essential part of any collaboration, as Donna points out, is a
>> >> positioning process---one that is also
>> >> influenced by the meaning/definition/value/moral aspects of engaging in
>> >> learning activity with others.
>> >>
>> >> There are so many other questions to be asked to figure out
>> >> "collaboration"---I hope my musings
>> >> on the topic contributes a bit.  In any case, Donna's paper has
>> certainly
>> >> pushed my thinking--
>> >>
>> >> An appreciative lurker!
>> >> -lynda
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> What KINDS of
>> >>
>> >>> collaborations are needed at this moment? How should they be
>> configured.
>> >>>
>> >> On Mar 29, 2014, at 7:50 AM, Greg Thompson wrote:
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>> Folks, if I may jump in here, I think that there is a definitional
>> >>>
>> >> problem
>> >>
>> >>> here: What is collaboration?
>> >>>
>> >>> Andy seems to be coming at this from the Marx's angle that to be
>> human is
>> >>> to collaborate (man is a zoopoliticon - humans are collaborative all
>> the
>> >>> way down...). I think from Andy's point would be that all classrooms
>> are
>> >>> collaborative. But this isn't the way that most ed researchers think.
>> >>>
>> >>> The ideology of individualism runs rampant in much theorizing about
>> >>> education. Ed researchers start at square one that says that students
>> >>>
>> >> begin
>> >>
>> >>> as individuals. In this case "collaboration" is an activity that one
>> must
>> >>> ACTIVELY make happen in the classroom (or anywhere else for that
>> matter).
>> >>> "Group projects" and "collaborative classrooms" are seen as
>> exceptions to
>> >>> the rule of "individualized learning" that is taken as the norm. And
>> in
>> >>> theorizing about education, "collaborative classroom" has a very
>> >>>
>> >> particular
>> >>
>> >>> meaning (I'm not very familiar with this lit, but I gather this is
>> true
>> >>> from what Donna has told us - here and in her paper).
>> >>>
>> >>> I'd add that there is a counterpart in the business world that follows
>> >>>
>> >> this
>> >>
>> >>> same kind of thinking - it's called "working in teams." Again, this
>> >>> involves an active and conscious decision to do something different
>> from
>> >>> what people normally do (i.e. "individual work") and have them work
>> >>> together. Most folks in business know this genre/frame of interaction.
>> >>>
>> >> Some
>> >>
>> >>> are head over heels for it and some loathe it (one of Donna's points).
>> >>>
>> >> But
>> >>
>> >>> it seems to generally be accepted that "collaboration" is something
>> >>> unnatural that one must "make" happen.
>> >>>
>> >>> It is this notion of "collaboration" that Donna is going after. And in
>> >>>
>> >> the
>> >>
>> >>> literature I'm willing to bet that people talk of "collaborative
>> >>> classrooms" as a panacea (this is how every "new" idea in education is
>> >>>
>> >> sold
>> >>
>> >>> to people). Frankly, I think this makes for a very weak view of
>> >>> collaboration - and one in need of criticism (as Donna has done).
>> >>>
>> >>> So I think that this would be a very interesting direction to pursue
>> the
>> >>> questions that Donna has raised in more depth: what is this discourse
>> >>>
>> >> about
>> >>
>> >>> "collaborative classrooms" all about? What are the fundamental
>> >>>
>> >> assumptions
>> >>
>> >>> that serve as the starting point against which "collaborative
>> classrooms"
>> >>> are seen as having to be "made"? And, to follow Andy's thinking, isn't
>> >>> collaboration always already there in the classroom - in the class
>> >>>
>> >> clown's
>> >>
>> >>> jokes, in the passing of notes during class, the conspiring against
>> the
>> >>> teacher or conspiring with the teacher against another class or the
>> >>> principal, etc. (and I bet if you looked closer, you'd find that even
>> >>> Mitchell is involved in some pretty impressive collaborations in this
>> >>> classroom! It's just that they won't be happening during those times
>> that
>> >>> are EXPLICITLY marked as "collaborative work").
>> >>>
>> >>> And I think this will naturally lead not to the question of "to
>> >>>
>> >> collaborate
>> >>
>> >>> or not to collaborate" but rather to Andy's question: What KINDS of
>> >>> collaborations are needed at this moment? How should they be
>> configured.
>> >>>
>> >>> Collaboration anyone?
>> >>> -greg
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>> On Sat, Mar 29, 2014 at 5:58 AM, Donna Kotsopoulos <dkotsopo@wlu.ca>
>> >>>
>> >> wrote:
>> >>
>> >>>> It's been a pleasure joining the group so thank you for this
>> >>>>
>> >> invitation. I
>> >>
>> >>>> admire the scholarly exchange and it has really stretched my thinking
>> >>>>
>> >> in a
>> >>
>> >>>> number of ways.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Yes, for some students collaboration may not be in their best
>> interest
>> >>>>
>> >> to
>> >>
>> >>>> collaborate. Our objectives as teachers to have them collaborate, may
>> >>>>
>> >> not
>> >>
>> >>>> be very relevant to the student or may be even harmful. That student
>> >>>>
>> >> that
>> >>
>> >>>> really ought to have an option has to compromise something in such
>> >>>> instances - their emotional, social, and or intellectual well
>> >>>> being/advancement, for example. That being said, any collaborative
>> >>>>
>> >> effort
>> >>
>> >>>> is a compromise of sort for each person. This is the very essence of
>> >>>>
>> >> human
>> >>
>> >>>> interaction. It's the degree and the damage from the compromise that
>> >>>>
>> >> must
>> >>
>> >>>> be weighted.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Mitchell likely would have picked another person to work with if
>> given
>> >>>>
>> >> the
>> >>
>> >>>> option to work alone or work with a partner or small group. I would
>> >>>>
>> >> surmise
>> >>
>> >>>> that the students he would have picked out would have been "nice"
>> >>>>
>> >> students,
>> >>
>> >>>> for lack of better words, than stars mathematically.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Alice would have picked the cool kids to work with. She would have
>> >>>> compromised her intellectual outcomes.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Ella would have picked the smartest in the class by her standards,
>> and
>> >>>> then should have tried to outsmart them. Ella is another interesting
>> >>>>
>> >> case.
>> >>
>> >>>> Always the perpetrator in every group she was in regardless of the
>> group
>> >>>> membership. Ella was also the class Victorian that year. She would
>> >>>> compromise social relationships to achieve her means to her end.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Will would have picked those students that would have done the work
>> for
>> >>>> him. Learning was an easy compromise for him.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Collaboration means compromise in my mind. Regardless of the context.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> d.
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Donna Kotsopoulos, Ph.D.
>> >>>> Associate Professor
>> >>>> Faculty of Education & Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics
>> >>>> Wilfrid Laurier University
>> >>>> 75 University Avenue West, BA313K
>> >>>> Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3C5
>> >>>> (519) 884-0710 x 3953
>> >>>> www.wlu.ca/education/dkotsopoulos
>> >>>> www.wlu.ca/mathbrains
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>> DISCLAIMER: This e-mail and any file(s) transmitted with it, is
>> intended
>> >>>> for the exclusive use by the person(s) mentioned above as
>> recipient(s).
>> >>>>
>> >> Any
>> >>
>> >>>> unauthorized distribution, copying or other use is strictly
>> prohibited.
>> >>>>
>> >>>>>>> On 3/28/2014 at 9:54 AM, in message <53357F22.1070109@mira.net>,
>> >>>>>>>
>> >> Andy
>> >>
>> >>>> Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Thank you, Donna, BTW, for your generous use of your time and energy
>> to
>> >>>> discuss these issues with XMCA-ers.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> I think this means then, Donna, that it cannot quite make sense to
>> say
>> >>>> that "for some students... collaboration may not be in their best
>> >>>> interests", for the more appropriate posing of this question must be
>> >>>> *what type of collaboration* is or is not in the best interest of
>> this
>> >>>> or that student. Which then poses the question of "What types of
>> >>>> collaboration are there?" rather than turning to the detailed
>> mechanisms
>> >>>> by which a given individual is positioned in a way which may be
>> damaging
>> >>>> to them.
>> >>>>
>> >>>> What do you mean by "compromise" in this context, Donna?
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Andy
>> >>>>
>> >>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> ------------
>> >>>> *Andy Blunden*
>> >>>> http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Donna Kotsopoulos wrote:
>> >>>>
>> >>>>> I'll try to address the recent comments in one email.
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> Yes, I fully agree with Andy that every human relationship is an
>> >>>>> instance of collaboration. This should suggest that more realistic
>> >>>>> expectations of school based collaborations are in order. There is
>> >>>>> compromise with every human relationship and the same is true in
>> >>>>> collaborative activities with children and schools.
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> Andy's point about the need for a conceptual framework for these
>> types
>> >>>>> of understanding such human relations and interactions in a school
>> >>>>> setting is interesting. Such a framework would have to include the
>> >>>>> possibility of compromise, an open lens attending to productive
>> >>>>> silencing and what I had referred to in earlier drafts as productive
>> >>>>> privileging (Will's case in the article), a critical evaluation of
>> >>>>> learning and the kinds of learning that has taken place.
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>>
>> >>>
>> >>> --
>> >>> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
>> >>> Assistant Professor
>> >>> Department of Anthropology
>> >>> 883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
>> >>> Brigham Young University
>> >>> Provo, UT 84602
>> >>> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
>> >>>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >
>> >
>> >
>>
>>
>
Status: O