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[Xmca-l] Re: book of possible interest



On 10 July 2014 22:33, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

> Huw:
>
> Is learning material? In what sense? At what point?
>

Historically, with Marx.  :)

The rest of your formations are subsumed by Baldwin's 1st and 2nd axioms of
genetic logic.  :)

As someone experienced with computation and computational processes, I do
find it quite straightfoward to think of memories as material impressions.
Cached values or lazy evaluation -- it's quite straightforward...  Not
rubbish, not garbage, but Babbage!

Best,
Huw



>
> I guess I think of it this way. All phenomena in the universe are physical,
> but only in the final analysis. When my father (who is a retired but
> unrepentant solar physicist) studies these phenomena he uses various units
> of analysis (my father likes to think big, so his usual unit of analysis is
> a solar emission many times larger than the earth, but sometimes, depending
> on the problem, he will condescend to think about smaller particles like
> atomic nuclei). Some of these physical phenomena, when they cool down a
> little, are chemical as well, and because these phenomena are chemical as
> well as physical, the unit of analysis that is proper to them is the
> molecule and its motions, and not simply the particle (Dad doesn't care
> about these phenomena; he likes his physics hot).
>
> Some of these chemical phenomena are biological as well, and here once
> again the unit of analysis has to change (e.g. to the cell) in order to
> take into account the new properties which come into being at this scale.
> Some biological phenomena are cultural-historical in turn, and here too we
> must change the unit of analysis in order not to lose essential information
> that is created with higher levels of organization and complexity.Of
> course, these cultural historical phenomena are all reducible to biological
> phenomena, and therefore reducible to chemical and physical phenomena, but
> only in the final analysis. Hey, in the final analysis, as Carolyn Porco
> says, we all get reduced to physical phenomena when the sun explodes and
> blows the particles that were once our bodies out into space, to enjoy
> eternal life...but only as physical phenomena.
>
> In the meantime, if we want to understand cultural-historical phenomena as
> such, we have to confront their higher levels of organization and
> complexity.The cultural historical phenomena that I am most interested in
> turn out to have another subset of phenomena which Halliday calls
> semiotic--that is, they are sociologically cultural-historical phenomena
> that stand, even if only for a fleeting instant,
> for psychologically cultural-historical phenomena. These phenomena are
> material too (that is, they are biological, chemical, and even
> physical), for the way things stand for other things is ultimately
> reducible to a thing: words are, in the final analysis, "made of living
> breath", as Shakespeare says, or "layers of moving air" if you prefer
> Engels.
>
> But only in the final analysis. In the interim, too much information is
> lost when we reduce these semiotic phenomena to physical, material,
> things (for example, when my students try to model learner comprehension
> problems as pure phonetic discrimination without taking into account the
> layer of wording or meaning). So it's almost always more useful for me to
> think of learning phenomena as NOT reducible to the physical, at least not
> in their unit of analysis. Actually, it seems to me that the
> general "cultural-historical" level of analysis is if anything a step
> closer to biology or chemistry or physics than the subset of cultural
> historical phenomena that I mean when I refer to learning, because to me
> learning is microgenetic, that is, POTENTIALLY ontogenetic, which is in
> turn POTENTIALLY sociogenetic, which (to me) is the general level of
> analysis we mean when we talk about cultural historical phenomena. So the
> real answer to Mike's colorful complaint about handles is not "Community of
> Learners" but actually "physico-chemico-bio-socio-semiotic learning
> activities".
>
> Time for that quantum physical cup of coffee you were talking about....
>
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>
>
> On 10 July 2014 08:53, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > David,
> >
> > 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.
> >
> > Nice chatting.
> >
> > Best,
> > Huw
> >
> > On 9 July 2014 22:46, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Huw:
> > >
> > > 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 <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > > Colourful.  The complaint seems perfectly valid though:  a
> typological
> > > and
> > > > epistemological error all in one conflated term.  It suggests that on
> > the
> > > > odd hours of the day there are Piagetian activities taking place.
>  Was
> > > this
> > > > part of the point of the chapter?
> > > >
> > > > Best,
> > > > Huw
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > On 8 July 2014 21:40, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.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
> > > setting
> > > > 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
> > > trouble
> > > > > 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
> > > cultural
> > > > > 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
> > > it
> > > > > to "Communities of Learners")
> > > > > MIKE: That name is like calliing the ultra net site for teachers
> > > 'design
> > > > > 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
> > > are,
> > > > I
> > > > > must say, not exactly reticent about sharing, and do not limit
> > > themselves
> > > > > 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 <smago@uga.edu> 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
> > > to
> > > > > > produce a product or service aimed at meeting a collective human
> > > need.
> > > > In
> > > > > > this case, collaborative, interventionist work with teachers in
> ...
> > > > Click
> > > > > > here for a free preview and full description<
> > > > > >
> > > > >
> > > >
> > >
> >
> http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001ZduyW2xyB1USw9R1YjQno7GI-mDLfJ6m-729UFbNgCKe6Z_p9GP7xjN9IHr0mfZ1yni-XmxHyPfAaNcVjlENvx4l8ySiyRYKHRvvg2E6WbMlf3hNShpk2qTuRRu0ZenYc1mrXxe68_BX4FXljTnHjOx91vJalGeivvaQfmQF57rpGgcDrJe9bprlVyXQwjSo0U6yk-QJ1S5miZfuS7ohswmNs3UZWGMucMgWJyU6E_J3d8QHyWjpGuBM8i2twLXGBPHkZb6hFN4pF6PT3r3M7HYvwFdzAzSfRvpCd90DvQMVDuqkf5VY3ccoD6FppEGF&c=0Y23gLfSZ1jN_yGPyItMZic7SWiIoOcRfcrQWB0JYs9lkVW149lxUQ==&ch=ioZBoxRIwDxdvg-uu6NEwI-E45lgW01U_INO86ZNyJpwbp9zcKnCIA==
> > > > > > >.
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