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[Xmca-l] Re: book of possible interest



Always a pleasure to read your posts, David (provided I don't get shafted in them).
Andy
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Andy Blunden*
http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/


David Kellogg wrote:
Well, I do hope that Helen means that "for the moment", as I have learned an awful lot from this book and even more from this discussion. You see, I am trying to tease apart two very different processes that appear, on the face of it, to be almost identical, but which also appear to have diametrically opposite developmental effects. One process is the process of getting people to feel at ease, confident, and happy that they understand what you are saying because it is actually something that is identical or at least very similar to what they already think. Another, almost identical, process is the process of "establishing ties" between a new form of knowledge and an earlier one. BOTH of these processes, it seems to me, occur throughout Helen's book, and it is easy to mistake the one for the other. BOTH of these processes, to use our earlier terminology, involve "establishing ties", but only one of them also involves breaking away. For example, at one point in the book Helen, looking back over the Banksia Bay PLZ data, rounds on herself for using a transparent piece of scaffolding to elicit the word "communicate" from a group of teachers. What bothers her is not that the answer itself is far too general to be of any practical value to the teachers, but only that she had it very firmly in mind, and kept badgering the teachers (as we all do, when we have a precise answer in mind) until she got it. The alternative, she points out, would be to take what she got and work with that. Yes indeed. But I think the main reason that would have been more interesting is not that it would have resulted in fewer rejections of teacher answers and made people more at ease, confdent, and happy that they understood, but rather than it would have yielded something more like a concrete but unconscious and not yet volitionally controlled example of excellence from the teacher's own practice. I almost always find that the actual answers I want--the "methods" I end up imparting to my own teachers, are already present in the data they bring me (because we almost always begin with actual transcripts of their lessons) but they are generally not methods but only moments, and moments that go unnoticed and therefore ungeneralized in the hurly burly of actual teaching. Last winter, Helen and I were at a conference in New Zealand where, among other eventful episodes, Craig Brandist got up and gave a very precise list of half a dozen different and utterly contradictory ways in which Bakhtin uses the term "dialogue". Because the senses of "dialogue" are so many and varied, people simply pick and choose, and they tend invariably to choose the ones that are closest to the way they already think. It is as moments like this that we need to remind ourselves that Bakhtin's "dialogue" does not, for the most part, ever include children, or women; that he did not "dialogue" with Volosinov or Medvedev when he allowed his acolytes to plunder their corpses, and that his love of carnival and the public marketplace does not extend to a belief in any form of political democracy. So I think we should start off with an understanding that what Vygotsky says about defect is not the same was what we now believe. Vygotsky, for example, believed that sign language was not true language, and that even the congenitally deaf should be taught to lip read; this is simply wrong. (On the other hand, what he says about spontaneously created sign languages--that they are essentially elaborated systems of gesture and they lack the signifying functions--fits exactly with Susan Goldin-Meadow's observations in Chicago.) And one reason I think it is important to begin with this understanding is this: sometimes--usually--LSV is right and we are wrong. In particular, I think the "credit" view of defect, or, for that matter, ignorance of any kind and not fully conscious teacher expertise risks becoming a liberal platitude--the cup is always half full, so why not look on the bright side of dearth? I certainly do not feel empowered by the fact that I know English but I do not know ASL, and I rather doubt that deaf people feel empowered by the opposite state of affairs. When I don't know something, I do not see any bright side of not knowing it, for the very simple reason that I can't see at all. Vygotsky was probably very influenced by "Iolanta", an opera that Tchaikovsky wrote--he certainly seems to quote it extensively in the last chapter of "Thinking and Speech". In "Iolanta", King Renee copes with the blindness of his daughter by having her shut up in a garden and forbidding all his subjects from discussing light, sight, color or anything visible in any way. Vaudemont, a knight of Burgundy, blunders into the garden, discovers Iolanta's secret. Iolanta convinces him that sight is unnecessary, but in the course of doing so, she develops the desire to see and choose for herself. David Kelogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

On 15 July 2014 11:12, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    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/
    <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>


    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
        <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
        <mailto: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
            <mailto: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
            <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 <mailto: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
                    <mailto: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
            <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
                        <mailto: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
                    <mailto:leifstrandberg.ab@telia.com>
                            :

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