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[Xmca-l] Re: The ideal head



Mike, Helena, Andy and others,
I wonder if this passage from Vygotsky's the problem of Age can help in
thinking about the problem:
"The second feature of critical age levels served as a departure point for
empirical study. The fact is that a significant proportion of children who
experience critical periods of development are difficult children. These
children seem to drop out of the system of pedagogical influence that until
very recently provided a normal course for their training. and education.
In children of school age during critical periods, there is a drop in rate
of success, a slacking of interest in school work, and a general decline in
capacity for work. At critical age levels, the child’s development
frequently is accompanied by more or less sharp conflicts with those around
him. The child’s internal life is sometimes connected with painful and
excruciating experiences and with internal conflicts."

Although frankly, I'm not sure what is meant by "critical periods of
development" and/or by "difficult children" (that second sentence baffles
me). Help would be welcome here!

Andy, maybe you can help? (Andy has been helping me understand this essay
offline).

-greg


On Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 7:26 PM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:

> Helena--  This way of putting things helps to illustrate the double sided
> nature of linguisitic/cultural mediation. You write
>
>  a  "fictional" idea has power
>
> Yes, it is a sign embodied in language that acts upon the external world at
> the same time that must be "suited" for the circumstances. Enabling and
> constraining. Ideas persist in their existence only to the extent that they
> are materialized and "taken up" by society. The class based and all other
> "dimensions of power" play a huge role in the odds we would put on the
> weaker interlocuter exterting sufficent power by words alone.
> mike
>
>
> On Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 4:49 PM, Helena Worthen <helenaworthen@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Michael -
> >
> > How will Temple decide whom to admit? First come, first served? Anyone
> who
> > graduates from a Philly high school?
> >
> > Helena
> >
> >
> > Helena Worthen
> > helenaworthen@gmail.com
> >
> > On Jul 24, 2014, at 2:38 PM, MICHAEL W SMITH wrote:
> >
> > > The progressive flip-side of that argument is to recognize that kids in
> > > poverty have manifested the grit they need to succeed in other
> contexts.
> > > At Temple we're moving to a no-test admissions option to acknowledge
> that
> > > kids from the comprehensive high schools in Philadelphia have personal
> > > resources that SATs can't measure.
> > >
> > >
> > > On Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 2:28 PM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > >> And yet "grit" is now the vogue term used by US policymakers to
> indicate
> > >> that kids in poverty's main problem is not trying hard enough.
> > >>
> > >>
> >
> http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar12/vol69/num06/Got-Grit%C2%A2.aspx
> > >>
> > >> -----Original Message-----
> > >> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> > >> xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Helena Worthen
> > >> Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2014 1:46 PM
> > >> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > >> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The ideal head
> > >>
> > >> But my point is that the "fictional" idea has power -- enough power to
> > >> make people think that if a kid tries, and tries, and tries, they can
> > >> overcome the lack of special resources that are symbolized by "English
> > >> nobility," or, in the real world, a rich cultural environment in
> > childhood,
> > >> good food, safe place to sleep, attentive educated parents, nice
> > schools,
> > >> etc etc...
> > >>
> > >> Sometimes the "people" who believe that trying hard is enough are the
> > >> parents. Sometimes they are the overseers of the school systems, who
> > ought
> > >> to know better.
> > >>
> > >> Helena Worthen
> > >> helenaworthen@gmail.com
> > >>
> > >> On Jul 24, 2014, at 1:34 PM, Carol Macdonald wrote:
> > >>
> > >>> Peter
> > >>>
> > >>> Or perhaps that the writer of The Tarzan stories had no idea about
> > >>> what it takes to become literate.  He had no-one to show him the
> > >>> arbitrariness of language and reading.
> > >>>
> > >>> If you remember, the primers for reading had multisyllable words in
> > them.
> > >>>
> > >>> Peter is right - only in fiction is this possible.
> > >>>
> > >>> And trying harder isn't necessarily the way to move forward. Trying
> > >>> something *else *might do it.  Tell that mum.
> > >>>
> > >>> Carol
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>> On 24 July 2014 17:53, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu> wrote:
> > >>>
> > >>>> I'd say that working harder worked for Tarzan because he was
> > fictional.
> > >>>>
> > >>>> -----Original Message-----
> > >>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> > >>>> xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Helena Worthen
> > >>>> Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2014 12:40 PM
> > >>>> To: lchcmike@gmail.com; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > >>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The ideal head
> > >>>>
> > >>>> These views are persuasively bound up in the story of Tarzan, an
> > >>>> incredibly popular book published in 1913 and still being sold.
> > >>>> Tarzan, abandoned in infancy in the African jungle, comes upon his
> > dead
> > >> parents'
> > >>>> cabin and their library and, without ever hearing human speech much
> > >>>> less English spoken, manages to teach himself to read. Why? Well, 1)
> > >>>> he tries hard and 2) he's English nobility. The generations of kids
> > >>>> and their parents who read the Tarzan story (or see the movies)
> never
> > >>>> question this train wreck of ideas -- on the contrary, it provides
> > >>>> support for the idea that learning is the result of trying hard and
> > >>>> being born smart (except that that's a code word for upper class).
> > >>>>
> > >>>> I had a heart-wrenching experience the other day that illustrates
> how
> > >>>> this works in real life. We're spending the summer in a small town
> in
> > >>>> Vermont -- working class, very dependent on big ski area tourism. A
> > >>>> friend of mine, a working class woman, is paying big bucks to send
> > >>>> her 12 year old daughter to an academic summer camp at a very
> > >> high-level hotshot prep school nearby.
> > >>>> The hope is that, with this extra boost, the girl will be able to
> > >>>> speed past the pitfalls of the local high school (which has a 30%
> > >>>> dropout rate, drug problems, etc.). The other students at the summer
> > >>>> camp are prep school kids repeating classes they didnt' ace plus
> rich
> > >>>> kids from all over the world, especially Asia. My friend's daughter
> > >>>> did fine the first week, then seemed to just freeze. Now daughter
> > >>>> wants to quit and is refusing to eat, etc. Her mom's idea is that
> the
> > >>>> girl just needs to try harder, try harder, try harder.Mother has
> > >>>> moved down there and is starting to attend classes with her.  Mother
> > >> and daughter are about ready to hit each other.
> > >>>>
> > >>>> My opinion: trying harder worked for Tarzan because he was English
> > >>>> nobility, and someone forgot to make sure my friend and her daughter
> > >>>> were English nobility (meaning, someone forgot to prepare her
> > >>>> daughter with all the class advantages, including self confidence,
> > >>>> that the other kids brought with them, along with their iPhones and
> > >> designer swimsuits).
> > >>>>
> > >>>> Where do you start, in a situation like this?
> > >>>>
> > >>>>
> > >>>> Helena Worthen
> > >>>> helenaworthen@gmail.com
> > >>>>
> > >>>> On Jul 19, 2014, at 6:38 PM, mike cole wrote:
> > >>>>
> > >>>>> Hi Peter. I had a similar experience regarding the accidental
> > >>>>> discovery of literature containing those colonialist-era books. My
> > >>>>> example was written for high level scholars over a century ago, but
> > >>>>> it, like this piece, expresses views that have not by any means
> > >>>>> disappeared in the intervening century.
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>> Nor has the resulting violence seemed to have eased.
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>> Attached.
> > >>>>> mike
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>> On Sat, Jul 19, 2014 at 12:03 PM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu
> >
> > >>>> wrote:
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>>>
> > >>>>>>
> http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/07/the-ideal-head
> > >>>>>> -b
> > >>>>>>
> izarre-racial-teachings-from-a-100-year-old-textbook/374693/#commen
> > >>>>>> ts
> > >>>>>>
> > >>>>>> I wrote this very short essay that some might find interesting,
> and
> > >>>>>> have linked to the page that includes reader comments, which are
> > >>>>>> prolific and edifying for those who believe in the progress of
> > >>>>>> human thinking. p
> > >>>>>>
> > >>>>> <Drummond- Ascent O fMan.doc>
> > >>>>
> > >>>>
> > >>>>
> > >>>>
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>> --
> > >>> Carol A  Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
> > >>> Developmental psycholinguist
> > >>> Academic, Researcher,  and Editor
> > >>> Honorary Research Fellow: Department of Linguistics, Unisa
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >
> > >
> > > --
> > > Michael W. Smith
> > > Associate Dean for Faculty Development
> > >     and Academic Affairs
> > > Temple University
> > > College of Education
> > > 237  Ritter Hall
> > > 1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue
> > > Philadelphia, PA 19122
> > > 215.204.2296
> >
> >
> >
>



-- 
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson