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[Xmca-l] Re: Article on Positioning Theory



This conversation is going too fast for me, and besides, I think it has
shifted anyway, but...  I want to grab (position) a comment that connects to
much we talk about here:  the roots of collusion and collaboration.  However
slimy and sneaky it has been passed down to us, the root of collusion is
still from Cum (with) and ludus (play, fun) while collaboration is from cum
(with) and labor (work).  We set up a polar dialectics to make us the
"protagonists" while the others are "antagonists" (words from drama!). We
have to make distinctions because that is what minds, brains in bodies do.
If we want to develop a concept we can get our teeth into, we have to say
what it is like and what it isn't like, to begin with.  Think of Dietrich
Bonhoeffer as colluding while the Party was collaborating.

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
[mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of mike cole
Sent: Monday, March 31, 2014 2:22 PM
To: Andy Blunden; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [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
>> >>>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >
>> >
>> >
>>
>>
>




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