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[Xmca-l] Re: book of possible interest
Just to be clear, the error I was referring to was the attribution of a
theory (as an adjective) to the material thing (learning). It would be
like saying, I am going to make a Newtonian cup of coffee in the morning
and a quantum mechanical cup of coffee in the afternoon.
I suppose colourful language serves the purpose of deliberate vagueness.
It's hard to be trendy and have a precise point.
I fear we are soon approaching the "teach yourself activity theory for
dummies" book someday soon. From my understanding, the theory itself
repudiates such a thing -- one cannot spoon feed theory -- but I don't
think that will stop folk trying.
I see no problem (or contradiction) in top down approaches. Solving a
problem in general is a powerful approach to many problems. For many
problems the concrete details are amenable to design and configuration, one
can often choose tools to suit the proposed solution rather than
vice-versa. But from an educational perspective, I see no alternative
than starting with the individual, ofcourse one can have general strategies
in doing so -- waiting to be asked before giving an explanation etc.
On 9 July 2014 22:46, David Kellogg <email@example.com> wrote:
> Helen has written a remarkable, important book. I gather it's part of her
> Ph.D. thesis, but it doesn't really read like a Ph.D. thesis. It reads like
> a teacher-trainer (or "professional development consultant", or whatever we
> are supposed to call them) with a problem who eventually, with a little
> help from the classics of cultural historical psychology and a lot of help
> from a co-teacher (who has a somewhat bookish, inert but nevertheless
> respectful and open acquaintance with those classics) achieves a very open
> but nevertheless very workable solution.
> So the bit I quoted represents the problem, or rather, two problems. On the
> one hand, Helen is trying to do something new: she wants to bring new CHAT
> concepts to bear on extant classroom activities and modify them in ways
> that she is confident will work. On the other, Helen is working with some
> pretty experienced (and even somewhat brutalized) teachers: they have seen
> "Professional Development" fads come and go, collected their free lunches
> and go on doing things the old way.
> Helen achieves her solution from the bottom up. Eventually, she does find a
> teacher who can teacher her a lot and who, even though Helen herself
> is uniquely gifted, with not only the theoretical background we all share,
> but also considerable first hand experience as a teacher and a parent, can
> nevertheless be taught in turn. But as you can see from the extract, she's
> extremely open, even to savage, unfair, and somewhat obtuse criticisms.
> Mike's critique of "cultural historical" is not that it is an
> epistemological error or a typological one, or that it puts the product
> "culture" before the process "history". It's not even that it suggests that
> on the odd day Piagetian activities might be taking place, which, by the
> way, is probably true, since these teachers were mostly trained during the
> "reign" of Piaget in the sixties and seventies.
> No, Mike's complaint is really, if you will pardon the expression, a wank
> of a complaint. He is just complaining that the name is uncool; it doesn't
> sound like the popular teachers would like it; the name won't go with an
> embossed moose like "Abercrombie and Fitch" or "community of
> learners" does. I think we have to accept that responsive, sensitive
> teachers inevitably end up internalizing some of the worst aspects of
> adolescent thinking, and this is an example. I might even say it's a
> bullshit complaint. It's crap, etc. (But this is one of those
> language situations where redundancy does not suggest development.)
> I guess if I encountered a bullshit complaint like that I would complain a
> little about "community of learners". I think that "community of
> learners" is essentially a way of saying "socio-psychological": it's
> relevant to everyday teaching, but it doesn't tell us much about how the
> "socio" got there, whereas "cultural-historical" does. I might even ask if
> Mike is going to try to teach physics, chemistry, biology, or history to
> kids without some way of saying "physico-chemical" or "chemico-biological",
> or "biologico-social". If not, then I don't see anything wrong with
> teaching language, including the language of teaching, as something
> "socio-semiotic" or "historico-cultural". But then, I never was one of the
> cool kids.
> My problem is this. I too would like to write a book now. I have two in
> mind, and they are both practical books about teacher training,
> similar in their targets to Helen's book, which is why I am studying it
> carefully. But I find that the books that I have in mind are really "about
> something" in a way that Helen's book is not. I don't mean that Helen's
> book has no object of study: like the title says, the object of study is
> teacher development. What I mean is that the teaching has no clear object
> of teaching: it's not specifically about teaching math or literacy or
> anything else but about teaching in general. The books I have in mind are
> really about teaching literacy (I think I want to try to teach WRITING
> before READING) and teaching science (I think I want to try a "hands off"
> approach that emphasizes word meanings instead of laboratory experiments).
> And I am finding that I when I do this the result is not at all the kind of
> "bottom up" thing that Helen does; it's very top down.
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> On 9 July 2014 07:33, Huw Lloyd <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > Colourful. The complaint seems perfectly valid though: a typological
> > epistemological error all in one conflated term. It suggests that on the
> > odd hours of the day there are Piagetian activities taking place. Was
> > part of the point of the chapter?
> > Best,
> > Huw
> > On 8 July 2014 21:40, David Kellogg <email@example.com> wrote:
> > > I'm actually in the middle of Chapter Three right now. What I can tell
> > you
> > > is that Helen's first two chapters are a kind of "Who's Who" at xmca,
> > with
> > > Helen reading the great classics (in the wrong order) and talking to
> > Andy,
> > > Greg, and others on this list. But beyond the litte shout-outs to xmca,
> > in
> > > Chapter Three, you find interesting problems like this. Helen is
> > up
> > > a "Professional Learning ZPD". This an acronymy within an acronym (an
> > > "acro-acronym-nym", like the group I used to belong to in New York and
> > > Paris, called "ACT-UP"), and in general Helen seems to have some
> > > with names. On pp. 58-59, she writes.
> > >
> > > "In PLZ 4 I wrote the title 'Features of cultural Historical Learning
> > > Activities' across a piece of butcher's paper and asked the grou to
> > > brainstorm features of activities that would be consistent with
> > > historical theory. After a few suggestions, Mike suddenly interrupted
> > with:
> > > MIKE: Can I ask, Helen, why such a wank of a name?
> > > HELEN: Cultural-historical?
> > > MIKE: Yeah, what a bullshit name.
> > > DEB: What should it be Mike?
> > > MIKE: What does it mean to anyone? Is that relevant to anyone that
> > > name? Cultural-historical learning. What does that mean?
> > > HELEN: Well....
> > > MIKE: It's crap.
> > > HELEN: Well, I don't think that you, that's the name of teh theoyr,
> > > Cultural historical theory, but I think in terms of schools using teh
> > > theory they talk about Communities of Learners.
> > > MIKE: Yeah, but why don't they call it that?
> > > HELEN: OK, so (I start crossing out "cultural historical" and changing
> > > to "Communities of Learners")
> > > MIKE: That name is like calliing the ultra net site for teachers
> > > space'. It has no relevance to the name whatsoever, and to use
> > it--features
> > > of cultural historical learning--sounds like a load of crap. It
> > > doesn't have any relevance ot what it means. If you said to me cultural
> > > historical learning, I go ....
> > > BETH: I actually thought it meant talking about he past (general
> > > agreement).
> > > MIKE: That's what it implies, the past and how you used to teach.
> > > HELEN: I suppose I'm just trying to familiarize you with the term
> > (general
> > > agreement)
> > > MIKE: If you call it community of learners then it's something that's
> > > relevant."
> > >
> > > Helen then makes the (cultural-historical) point that words have a
> > history,
> > > but they are not necessarily YOUR history--for Helen, "cultural
> > historical"
> > > calls up a whole series of quite precise concepts, while "Community of
> > > Learners" is kind of vague and undefined. But for the teachers (who
> > I
> > > must say, not exactly reticent about sharing, and do not limit
> > > to sharing their expertise) what you get is old times.
> > >
> > > It's funny that they ignore the word culture. I always thought that
> > > "cultural historical" is a little bit of the cart before the horse....
> > >
> > > David Kellogg
> > > Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > On 8 July 2014 21:40, Peter Smagorinsky <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > >
> > > > The Practice of Teachers' Professional Development
> > > >
> > > > A Cultural-Historical Approach
> > > >
> > > > Helen Grimmett (Monash University, Australia)
> > > >
> > > > This book uses Vygotsky's cultural-historical theory to provide a
> > unique
> > > > theorisation of teachers' professional development as a practice. A
> > > > practice can be described as the socially structured actions set up
> > > > produce a product or service aimed at meeting a collective human
> > In
> > > > this case, collaborative, interventionist work with teachers in ...
> > Click
> > > > here for a free preview and full description<
> > > >
> > >
> > > > >.
> > > >
> > > >
> > >