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[Xmca-l] Re: book of possible interest



Francis, I dipped out of the conversation about fuzzy things because it was just getting silly, but please allow me to nip a couple of rumours in the bud before they become reveived wisdom. I have never used the term "semantic action". The term appeared in my message in my attempt to sum up what *David* was saying. Since he disowns the term I guess I was mistaken. Secondly, I certainly do not conflate the sign and the concept. I deal with the relation at some length in my book on Concepts.
Andy
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Andy Blunden*
http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/


FRANCIS J. SULLIVAN wrote:
As I understand it, Huw DISAGREES with Andy and actually agrees with the
revisionist critique of Vygotsky on the grounds that children are mostly
preoccupied with action and not word meaning. That's all very true of
course: but they are NOT really preoccupied with labour activity. Their
preoccupations are with PLAY activity (Kim Yongho and I did a good study of
so-called "Task based teaching" that shows how children redefine tasks as
role plays and games). Play activity is, as Vygotsky has shown us,
genetically related to speech and not to labour.


DOESN'T IMAGINATIVE PLAY COUNT AS THINKING?

Andy's third point is that semantic actions (???) create intellectual
structures in the mind. I don't know what a semantic action is; semantics
for me is the process of making something stand for something else, but I
don't see in what sense it helps to model this process as an "action". In
many ways, it is precisely a non-action, because it includes conditionality
and interpretability, neither of which is usefully modeled as action.

THE ABOVE IS WHAT SEEMS TO ME TO BE ABOUT "ACADEMIC DISCOURSE,"
UNNECESSARILY NARROWING "THINKING." I TAKE HIS TERM SEMANTIC ACTION TO
REFER TO THE ILLOCUTIONARY FORCE OF THE DISCOURSE

I agree with the Russians who say that "perezhivanie" is a well defined
concept. But to me "well defined" means developmentally so: it means that
the specific weight of the various components of "perezhivanie" have to be
allowed to change as we develop: so for young children "perezhivanie" is
largely "felt experience", and for older children it is mostly "thought
over--contemplated--experience". I don't see that thinking over is mostly
an intellectual exercise though--I always feel, even in these exchanges on
xmca, that there is a certain emotional component which makes us respond,
sometimes before we really even think things out.

HERE I AGREE COMPLETELY WITH YOU, BUT ALSO TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE
SOCIALIZATION OF SCHOOLING AS A CRUCIAL FACTOR.

 David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies




On 16 July 2014 04:39, FRANCIS J. SULLIVAN <fsulliva@temple.edu> wrote:

With great trepidation, I want to enter this conversation with my first
post to the list (I have followed it for about a year now) because as
both
a researcher and teacher educator the issues raised are  major concerns
of
mine too. I find, I think it was David's point, the idea that we can
think
of the "connections" problem in two ways to be at the heart of the issue,
at least for me. It is one thing to construct a connection that "adds to"
the existing knowledge framework of others. But, it is a very different
thing to sea5rch for a "connection" that requires others to qualitatively
change, or even abandon, their existing framework. Helen seems to achieve
such a connection with at least some of her teachers by helping them to
re-cognize their own social identities so that the new knowledge and
framework became less threatening and more inviting. She reconnected them
with who they used to be and what they valued. So they did not see
themselves as merely "ignorant" but more like retracing their steps.
For me, at least, that's why the "deficit" models of teaching (or
research)
practices do not work. We--teachers and students--need to find a place
from
which we can begin this journey together, common ground so to speak.
While
a deaf person may not "know" English, I don't think that's the salient
point. All of us don't know things. What seems to me salient in Helen's
attempt to find connections, is that the very attempt challenged their
current ways of framing their professional lives. What we might think of
as
"ignorance," those teachers thought of as "knowledge." And that
"knowledge"
was part and parcel of the ways they positioned themselves as teachers in
relation to students.
 I am tempted to put this into discourse analysis terms--I'm a
semi-Hallidayan with a critical theory twist. But, I've said enough for a
first post, I think. I hope it is useful.

Francis J. Sullivan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Teaching and Learning
College of Education
Temple University
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Find out what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact
measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.

 Frederick Douglass


On Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 2:10 AM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
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> 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/


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_
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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."