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[Xmca-l] Re: book of possible interest



My reading of Vygotsky on 'defectology' was that the 'defect' was the problem in social relations, that is, the person who is different in some way suffers because of the way that difference is treated or not treated by others, not for anything in itself. One and the same feature could be a great benefit or a fatal flaw, depending on how others react to it. Except insofar as introducing the idea of a "credit view" is a move aimed at changing the perceptions and behaviours of others in relation to the subject, I don't think Vygotsky is an advocate of the mirror image of a deficit view. As I see it, he analyses the problem of the person being treated as deficient by means of the unit of *defect-compensation*. The defect (a problem arising in social interaction, with others) generates certain challenges which are overcome, generally also in interaction with others. This "compensation" leads to what Helen could call a "credit" and it is the dynamic set up between the social defect and social compensation which shapes the subject's psychology and their relation to others.
Andy
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Andy Blunden*
http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/


Helen Grimmett wrote:
I think what is unique about Vygotsky's work in defectology is that,
despite the name, it is not a deficit view (in the way that I understand
the term) at all.

I understand the commonly used term 'deficit view' as a focus on what
children are 'missing' that needs to be provided to them by teachers to
bring them up to a pre-conceived idea of 'normal' for their age/grade level
etc. Whereas, a 'credit view' focuses on what children are able to do and
bring to a learning situation, in which, in the interaction with others,
they will be able to become more able to do and 'be' more than they were
before (i.e. to develop), whether this be in the 'expected' ways to the
'expected' level or in completely different ways to a variety of different
levels beyond or outside 'standard' expectations. From the little I have
read on defectology I think this is what Vygotsky was advocating - that
despite a child's blindness or deafness etc, development was still possible
if mediational means were found that made use of the child's credits (i.e.
using sign language or braille so that children still had access to the
developmental opportunities provided by language). So I think your term
pre-abled is in fact a credit view rather than a deficit view.

I was attempting to also use a credit view in my work with the teachers. I
saw them as being experienced practitioners who had lots to bring to our
discussions of teaching and learning, in which together we could see what
could be developed (new practices, new understandings). Once Kay and Mike
realised this they got on board and engaged in the process and (possibly
for the first time in a long while as they both saw themselves [and in fact
are officially designated as] 'expert teachers') really reawakened the
process of developing as professionals. They blew off most of the content I
was contributing, but they realised the process was actually about
'unsticking' their own development and working out new and personally
interesting and meaningful ways of 'becoming' more as teachers, instead of
being stuck 'being' the teacher they had turned into over the years. Not
all of the teachers made this leap in the time I worked with them though.
Others were either quite disgruntled that I wouldn't provide them with
answers to 'fix' their own perceived deficits or patiently waited for me to
go away and stop rocking the boat. From what I can gather though, Ann (the
principal) kept the boat rocking and managed over time to get more teachers
to buy into the process of learning from each other and collaboratively
creating new practices. As we said earlier, development takes time as well
as effort.

All I've got time for at the moment!

Helen






Dr Helen Grimmett
Lecturer, Student Adviser,
Faculty of Education,
Room G64F, Building 902
Monash University, Berwick campus
Phone: 9904 7171

*New Book: *
The Practice of Teachers' Professional Development: A Cultural-Historical
Approach
<https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/professional-learning-1/the-practice-of-teachers-professional-development/>
Helen Grimmett (2014) Sense Publishers



<http://monash.edu.au/education/news/50-years/?utm_source=staff-email&utm_medium=email-signature&utm_campaign=50th>


On 14 July 2014 14:43, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

Near the end of Chapter Three (p. 81), Helen is summing up her experience
with the Banksia Bay PLZ and she notes with some dismay that her PDers have
"a deficit view" of their children and tend towards "container models" of
the mind ("empty vessel, sponge, blank canvas"). Only one teacher, Ann sees
anything wrong with this, and Helen says "they don't necessarily value her
opinion".

 Helen finds herself rather conflicted: One the one hand, she says "If
their representations of children really do represent their beliefs, then
they are probably right to insist there is no need to change." And on the
other, she says "My intention was never to say that their present practice
was wrong, but to help them see alternative ways of thinking about
children, learning, and teaching."

Of course, if there is no need to change, then it follows that there is no
reason to look for alternative ways of thinking about children, learning
and teaching. The only reason for spending scarce cognitive resources on
seeing different ways of looking at children is if you do, in fact, take a
deficit view of the teachers. Ann, and the Regional Consultants, apparently
do, but Helen realizes that there isn't much basis for this: not only do we
have no actual data of lessons to look at, we know that one of the
teachers, Kay, has been in the classroom for three decades (during which
time Helen has spent at least one decade OUT of the classroom).

While we were translating Vygotsky's "History of the Development of the
Higher Psychological Functions" last year, some of my colleagues were taken
aback by Vygotsky's use of terms like "moron", "imbecile", "idiot", and
"cretin". Of course, Vygotsky is writing long before the "euphemisim
treadmill" turned these into playground insults; for Vygotsky they are
quite precise descriptors--not of cognitive ability but actually of
LANGUAGE ability. But because our readership are progressive Korean
teachers with strong views about these questions, we found that we couldn't
even use the term "mentally retarded" without a strongly worded footnote
disavowing the "deficit" thinking behind the term.

I think that Vygotsky would have been surprised by this. I think he took it
for granted that a defect was a deficit: being blind means a deficit in
vision, and being deaf means a deficit in hearing. In the same way, a brain
defect is not an asset. On the other hand, I think Vygotsky would find our
own term "disabled" quite inaccurate: since all forms of development are
compensatory and involve "circuitous routes" of one kind or another, and
all developed children, even, and even especially, gifted children, contain
islands of underdevelopment, the correct term for deficits of all kinds is
not "disabled" but "pre-abled".

Personally, I see nothing wrong with a deficit view of children that sees
them as pre-abled (or, as Vygotsky liked to say, 'primitivist"; that is,
they are waiting for the mediational means that we have foolishly developed
only for the psychophysiologically most common types to catch up with the
actual variation in real children. I suspect this view is actually quite a
bit closer to what Kay thinks than to what Helen thinks.

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies






On 13 July 2014 10:59, Helen Grimmett <helen.grimmett@monash.edu> wrote:

Hi David,

Interesting question. I absolutely think that development AS a
professional
is necessary, just as development as a human is necessary, so if
professional development is seen as the practice in which this
development
is produced then absolutely I do think it is necessary. The form that
this
practice takes though, and indeed the form of the development that is
produced within this practice, are the things open to question however.

I definitely think that a teacher's development as a professional
includes
the need to understand their practice better rather than just change it,
but I think that understanding often develops best in/alongside/with the
process of changing (and vice versa) rather than separately from it, and,
as you point out above, in establishing ties *between* people and then
within them. So a practice of professional development that creates
conditions which support this type of development will (I believe) be
much
more effective than traditional forms of PD that either attempt to
lecture
about theoretical principles but do not support teachers to transfer
these
into practical changes, OR provide teachers with practical programs and
expect them to implement them without any understanding of what and why
the
changes matter. I think the term "Professional Development" is an
absolute
misnomer for either of those typical approaches.

So again, I have a problem with names! I'm talking about Professional
Development with a completely different meaning than what most of the
education community believe it to mean when they talk about attending PD
seminars or workshops. I toyed with trying to find a different name for
the
particular meaning I'm talking about, but when you are talking about
development from a cultural-historical theoretical perspective then there
really is no other word to use! That's why I stuck to using 'professional
development' (in full) when I meant my meaning, and PD (which is what
teachers in Australia commonly refer to seminars and workshops as) when I
refer to the typical (and in my view, usually non-developmental) forms of
activities that teachers are subjected to each year.

So, I agree that the need for PD is questionable, but the need for
practices of professional development that help teachers to develop as
professionals (that is, to develop a unified understanding of both the
theoretical and practical aspects of their work, which is itself
continually developing in order to meet the changing needs of their
students, schools and society) is essential. While I think co-teaching is
one practical small-scale solution, working out viable, economical, and
manageable ways to create these practices on a large-scale is a very
large
problem.

Cheers,
Helen


Dr Helen Grimmett
Lecturer, Student Adviser,
Faculty of Education,
Room G64F, Building 902
Monash University, Berwick campus
Phone: 9904 7171

*New Book: *
The Practice of Teachers' Professional Development: A Cultural-Historical
Approach
<

https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/professional-learning-1/the-practice-of-teachers-professional-development/
Helen Grimmett (2014) Sense Publishers



<

http://monash.edu.au/education/news/50-years/?utm_source=staff-email&utm_medium=email-signature&utm_campaign=50th
On 13 July 2014 08:57, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

Helen:

Good to hear from you at long last--I knew you were lurking out there
somewhere!

I didn't actually write the line about "establishing ties"--it's from
"The
Little Prince". The prince asks what "tame" means, and the fox replies
that
it means "to establish ties". But of course what I meant was that ties
are
established first between people and then within them; the ties of
development are interfunctional ties that make up a new psychological
system. (Or, for Halliday, they are the inter-systemic ties that make
up
new metafunctions.)

As you say, Yrjo Engestrom chooses to emphasize another aspect of
development with "breaking away"--he wants to stress its crisis-ridden
nature. I agree with this, actually, but mostly I agree with you, that
we
are talking about two moments of the same process. To me, breaking away
is
really a precondition of the real business of establishing ties.

Thomas Piketty makes a similar point in his book "Capital in the
Twenty-first Century". He admits that war and revolution is the only
thing
that EVER counteracts the tendency of returns from capital to outstrip
the
growth in income, and that the 20th Century was an outlier in this
respect,
and the Russian revolution an extreme outlier within that outlier. But
he
also says that in the long run the one thing that makes UPWARD mobility
possible is education. Despite everything, because of everything.

I finished the book a few days ago. I guess the thing I most want to
ask
about is the assumption that professional development is necessary at
all.
Doesn't it make more sense to say that before we change what we are
doing,
we should understand it better?

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies


On 12 July 2014 13:20, Helen Grimmett <helen.grimmett@monash.edu>
wrote:
Ah, I think you have hit the nail on the head David. It is indeed
TIME
that
is so crucial - not only duration of time, but also location of time
(which
I suppose is really context).

The problems I had with Mike and his colleagues about the terminology
stemmed partly from the typical Aussie disdain for using words that
might
make your mates think you are trying to appear 'better' than them, so
therefore you mock anything that sounds too serious or intellectual.
But
beyond this surface level of complaining the problems Huw and you
have
been
discussing boil down to problems with time.

Huw's complaint about my use of the heading "Features of
Cultural-Historical Learning Activities" is well justified - but it
was
really just a shorthand written version of what I was verbally asking
for
as "What might be some particular features of learning activities
that
would align with principles of Cultural-Historical Theory?" That
would
have
taken too long to write on the top of the piece of paper - and of
course
time is always too short in any after-school PD so shortcuts are
inevitably
taken. (Time problem #1)

Time problem #2, which your discussion has highlighted for me, is
that
of
course my question was really "What might be some particular features
of
learning activities that would align with THE LIMITED NUMBER OF (AND
LIMITED UNDERSTANDING OF) principles of Cultural-Historical Theory
THAT
YOU
HAVE BEEN INTRODUCED TO SO FAR?" so I really should have not been so
surprised that they would find the brainstorming activity difficult
and
resort to diversionary tactics! (Mike's outburst posted here by David
was
not the only eventful moment I write about from this one activity.
But
these apparent failures actually provided much more interesting data
for
me
and eventually lead me to several key findings in my thesis). I had
spent
several years by this stage reading and discussing Vygotsky and yet I
had
assumed/hoped the teachers would have enough understanding from my
(probably not very good) explanations ABOUT theory over the previous
3
short sessions I had had with them to be able to contribute answers
to
my
brainstorm question. They had not had enough TIME to become familiar
with
enough of the theory to make much sense of it yet - but still, we
have
to
start somewhere and this was still early days.

Time problem #3 brings in what I called above the location of time. I
had
never intended for the sessions to be me giving after-school lectures
about
either theory or practice, yet this is what the teachers seemed to
expect
from me (and even demand from me) and were pretty disgruntled when I
wouldn't/couldn't deliver. My intention was always to get them to
engage
with the relationship between THEORY and PRACTICE, just as David's
comic
book discusses the relationship between THINKING and SPEECH or
EMOTION
and
COGNITION. My problem of course was that once we were in an
after-school
meeting we were removed in both time and space from where theory and
practice of teaching/learning operate as a relation (i.e. the
classroom
activity). I was actually trying to create/use our own PLZ
(Professional
Learning ZPD) as the activity in which to develop and understand this
relationship but it was initially very hard to get the teachers to
understand this (at least until we had enough of David's Fox's
socially
shared experiences for the meanings to become communicable) and then
even
more difficult to get them to transfer this back to developing their
own
classroom teaching. Ironically, despite being the loudest complainers
and
disparagers, it was Mike and Kay (the protagonist of my other
eventful
moment in the brainstorming session) who actually ended up making the
biggest changes in their classroom practice. Perhaps this is not
really
surprising at all - they were the ones who obviously engaged and
argued
with the ideas and activities rather than simply endured them!

My eventual answer to the problems encountered in my work with the
group
of
teachers was to work WITH a teacher IN her own classroom so that we
had
shared experiences of the relationship between theory and practice
which
could not only be discussed after the events, but also actually acted
upon
there and then IN the event - creating what I called "Situated
Conscious
Awareness" of both the theoretical and practical aspects of the
concepts
of
teaching/learning and development we were developing understanding
and
practice of together. But perhaps I should wait until David gets up
to
this
part of the book before I say more!

Finally, one other point that really caught my attention in your
comic
book
David is that your prince calls development "to establish ties" which
is
an
interesting difference to Engestrom's definition as "breaking away".
But
perhaps, as always in CH theory, it is not a matter of either/or but
in
fact both/and ideas that are necessary. From what I learned in my
study,
teachers' development as professionals is definitely BOTH about
breaking
away from old, routinised understandings and practices AND
establishing
new
connections between and amongst theoretical concepts and practices,
enabling them to continually develop new competences and motives
across
all
of their professional duties.

Thanks for your interest in my book David. The discussion it has
sparked
has helped me revisit ideas from new perspectives.

Cheers,
Helen










Dr Helen Grimmett
Lecturer, Student Adviser,
Faculty of Education,
Room G64F, Building 902
Monash University, Berwick campus
Phone: 9904 7171

*New Book: *
The Practice of Teachers' Professional Development: A
Cultural-Historical
Approach
<

https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/professional-learning-1/the-practice-of-teachers-professional-development/
Helen Grimmett (2014) Sense Publishers



<

http://monash.edu.au/education/news/50-years/?utm_source=staff-email&utm_medium=email-signature&utm_campaign=50th
On 12 July 2014 07:29, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

Plekhanov distinguishes between "agitators" and "propagandists".
Agitators
are essentially popularizers; they have the job of ripping away a
subset
of
smaller and simpler ideas from a fabric of much larger and more
complex
theory and then disseminating them amongst the largest possible
number
of
people. In other words, their focus is exoteric. Propagandists are
essentially conspiratorial: they have the job of initiating a small
number
of the elect and educating them in the whole theoretical system--as
Larry
would say, the full Bildung. In other words, their focus is
esoteric.
As
you can see, Plekhanov was good at making distinctions, and not so
good
at
showing how things are linked. For Helena, who is a  labor
educator,
you
can't really be an effective agitator unless you are also a
propagandist.
You need to present your exoteric extracts in such a way that they
are,
to
borrow Larry's phrase, both necessary and sufficient to lead people
on
to
the esoterica. I'm with Helena--and with Bruner--with children it's
always
possible to tell the truth, part of the truth, but nothing but the
truth,
and if we can do it with kids, why not do it with adults?

(I am less sure about what it means to say that the objectively
human
is
the "subjectively historical"--it sounds like history is being
reified
as a
subject, that is, as a living, breathing, acting "World Spirit"
that
can
have a mind and reflect upon itself. My understanding of history is
that just as we cannot have the advanced form of historical
consciousness
in dialogue with the more primitive forms, the opportunity to
reflect
upon
the whole process when it is all over is simply never going to be
available
to anyone. The Merleau-Ponty quotation is beautiful and intensely
poetic, Larry--but when I look at a bubble or a wave, I do not
simply
see
chaos; I see past bubbles and past waves, and potential bubbles and
potential waves. Isn't that a part of the experience of "loving
history"
as
well?)

My wife wrote a wonderful Ph.D. thesis about how any work of
literature
can
be looked at on four time frames: phylogenetic (the history of a
genre),
ontogenetic (the biography of a career), logogenetic (the
development
of
a
plot or a character), and microgenetic (the unfolding of a
dialogue,
or a
paragraph). Her supervisor complained about the terminology in
somewhat
more elegant terms than Mike does in Helen's data:and suggested
that
she
should replace the terms with "history", "biography", "development"
and
"unfolding", to make it more exoteric.

I think that if she had done that, it would have made the thesis
into
agitation rather than education. Yes, the terms would have been
more
familiar, and they might even, given other context, be taken to
mean
the
same thing. But what we would have gotten is good, clear
distinctions
("history" on the one hand and "biography" on the other) and what
we
would
have lost is the linkedness of one time frame to another--the way
in
which
the phylogenesis of genre produces the mature genre which is used
in
an
author's ontegenesis, and the way in which the author's ontogenesis
produces the starting point and the raw materials for the
logogenetic
development of a work, not to mention the way in which logogenesis
is
reflected in the microgenetic unfolding of dialogue.

So I think that when Helena writes that anything can be explained
to
anyone
in language that is everyday and simple and in a way that is
understandable
and at least part of the whole truth, I agree somewhat enviously
(you
see,
Helena is a labor educator, but I teach TESOL, which is really the
process
of taking a few very simple and exoteric ideas that good teachers
already
have and disseminating the select to the elect for vast sums of
money).
But
I have to add a rider--when we popularize richly woven fabrics of
ideas
like cultural historical theory we are not simply juggling
vocabulary.
I
think that Helena recognizes this perfectly when she says that it
takes
TIME to be simple and clear. If it were simply a matter of
replacing
"cultural historical" with "community of learners" it would
actually
take
less time, but it isn't and it doesn't.

It is very hot in Seoul today, and somewhere out there a toddler is
arguing
with a parent because he wants watermelon with breakfast. The
parent
resists, because if you eat cold watermelon on an empty stomach you
get a
tummy-ache. The argument grows heated and long--and complex, but
the
complexity is of a particular kind, with very short, repeated,
insistancies
from the child and somewhat longer more complex remonstrations from
the
parent. We can call this complex discourse but simple grammar. A
few
years
will go by and we will find that the school child has mastered the
trick
of
long and complex remonstrations and can use them pre-emptively to
win
arguments. We can call this complex grammar, but simple vocabulary.
Only
when a decade or two has elapsed will we find that child, now
adult,
can
use the language of science, which is for the most part
grammatically
simple (at least compared to the pre-emptive remonstrations of the
school
child), but full of very complex vocabulary (e.g. "phylogeny
anticipates
ontogeny", or "cultural-historical activity theory enables
communities
of
learners").

It's Saturday today, and in a few minutes I have to leave for the
weekly
meeting of our translation group, which produces mighty tomes which
we
produce to popularize the works of Vygotsky amongst militant
teachers
here
in Korea (our version of "Thinking and Speech" is seven hundred
pages
long
because of all the explanatory notes and boxes with helpful
pictures).
On
the other hand, there is the attached comic book version of the
first
chapter of "Thinking and Speech" which I wrote a couple of years
ago
for
some graduate students who were having trouble talking about the
real
"Thinking and Speech" in class.

I think you can see that Huw's complaint is justified--the comic
book dialogue is "about" Thinking and Speech, but it is not
"Thinking
and
Speech" at all, in the same way that "community of learners" or
"biography"
is ABOUT cultural historical theory or ontogenesis. And I think
that
part
of the problem (but only part of it) is that the comic book is just
too
short.

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies






2014-07-11 17:09 GMT+09:00 Leif Strandberg <
leifstrandberg.ab@telia.com
:

11 jul 2014 kl. 06:41 skrev Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com>:

David,
I have been following your reflections through this thread.
You commented:

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

I have been reflecting on the notion of *bildung* as learning.
The notion of *cultivation* and *disposition* and *comportment*
as
the
potential of learning.
I came across this quote from Gramsci who was questioning the
notion
of
*laws* as the basis for making social predictions. Such *laws*
excluded
the
subjective factor from history.
Gramsci wrote on social process: "Objective always means
'humanly
objective' which can be held to correspond exactly to
'historically
subjective' "

Merleau-Ponty also explored what I refer to as *disposition*
with
this
quote on the reality of history:
History "awakens us to the importance of daily events and
action.
For
it
is
a philosophy [of history -LP] which arouses in us a love for
our
times
which are not the simple repetition of human eternity nor
merely
the
conclusion of premises already postulated. It is a view that
like
the
most
fragile object of perception - a soap bubble, or a wave - or
like
the
most
simple dialogue, embraces indivisibly all the order and all the
disorder
of
the world."

I read these passages from Gramsci and M-P  as a way of
exploring
*comportment* or *disposition* that is *learned*.  [bildung??]
There
is
no
necessary or sufficient standpoint for interpreting this
inherently
heterogeneous process. However we may potentially learn various
*approaches* or *ways* of being-in-the-world through learning
processes.
The notion of *bildung* is a way to reflect on this learning
process
Larry






On Thu, Jul 10, 2014 at 3:54 PM, Huw Lloyd <
huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>
wrote:

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
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set
up
to
produce a product or service aimed at meeting a
collective
human
need.
In
this case, collaborative, interventionist work with
teachers
in
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