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[Xmca-l] Re: Email Format Conventions



(I have the 'plain text mode' set on this. Hope it works! Now if only
I could get it to proofread my posts a little better....)

As I understood it, Ageliki's request for assistance was actually
request for assistance in writing an article. I hope that she is
looking for a serious theoretical argument. This is the sort of
argument we regularly have on this list. For example, we had a number
of people writing in from Australia to defend the use of direct
instruction methods with Aboriginal kids not too long ago. I remember
this well because I took the other side, AGAINST Engelmann and
company, but one of my graduate students was sufficiently impressed to
try to design thesis work around Engelmann's work. I haven't changed
my position (and I'm very pleased to report that my grad student
eventually abandoned Engelmann's work in some disgust).

But the problem that Ageliki has brought us is really more interesting
than Engelmann, DI and neobehaviorism. Ageliki says that it's hard to
find any good, serious literature arguing, in a pre-school context,
that more formal, or in Bernsteinian terms, strongly framed and
strongly classified, curricula will help overcome the apparent
problems that working class kids (but not middle class kids) have in
school. On the one hand, there IS such a litterature: this is in fact
the argument that took place between Bernstein and Labov, and later
between genre based teaching based on Halliday, Christie, Martin,
Painter, and Hasan and what is called, in the USA, "Academic
Literacies", based on the work of Labov, Brian Street, the New London
Group, and also, more indirectly, on the work of Scribner and Cole in
Liberia. But on the other hand, Ageliki's right: it IS hard to find
literature which takes the Bernsteinian argument seriously, and it's
worth discussing why this should be.

Let me take the first hand by the hand first. Mike wants to know if
there was any non-DI teaching method used in a preschool context which
is based on strongly framed and strongly classified knowledge. There
was and there is. First of all, the "Headstart" programme, for
example, was an explicit attempt to do exactly what Ageliki is talking
about--as the name suggests, the work that middle class kids do in
first grade was introduced to working class kids and minorities in
kindergarten, in order to give them a head start. The problem for
Ageliki is that the "Headstart" programme, widespread and successful,
was not really theorized beyond that very simple idea (no Vygotsky and
no Halliday). So my suggestion would be to look at genre based
teaching in Australia, particularly as written about by Robert Veel,
David Rose, Clare Painter, Frances Christie, and above all Beverly
Derewianka. Interestingly, the backlash against genre based teaching
in Australia was led by Engelmann and DI and not by Academic
Literacies.

Genre based teaching is very explicitly based on the Bernsteinian
argument: a mismatch between the language of home and the language of
school is going to occur for working class children but not for middle
class children. Because their parents work, working class kids tend to
play with each other rather than with their parents. They also spend
more time with television and less time with books, with the result
that visiographic modes of thinking are more highly developed than
symbolic ones. Therefore, middle class kids will find it much much
easier to work with "implicit" language norms than working class
children, and working class children will benefit from explicit
instruction in what a particular academic genre looks like (e.g.
writing a description of how beans sprout instead of simply telling a
story about it), for the same reason that kids coming from foreign
language backgrounds benefit from explicit instruction in the grammar
and vocabulary of English. This is, as I understand it, the argument
that Ageliki is actually looking for, and it is indeed, as Mike wants
to know, a well worked out teaching method.

The more serious contrary argument is essentially a naturalistic one.
It is that language knowledge is always in the final analysis
"knowledge how" rather than "knowledge that". So by introducing a
separate, "declarative knowledge" stage, we are actually delaying the
progress of working class kids towards naturalizing knowledge of
academic genre and producing a kind of remediation which will mire
them in a game of catch up. The "Academic Literacies" argument,
therefore, is that genre based teaching places too much stress on
language, too much stress on text, too much stress on product, and the
stress should rather be on practices. Even if we accept that different
practices can lead to different ulitmate products (i.e. restricted
codes can lead to non-academic genres instead of the academic genres
that we are trying to teach), we must also accept that at times
different  practices can also lead to the same product, and this is
essentially the argument that people like J.P. Gee and David Block
have made, and it is pretty easy to see how it is based on the work of
Scribner and Cole. (There is a good discussion of the differences--and
the complementarities--in the Journal of English for Academic
Purposes, 11, 2012, a special issue edited by Caroline Coffin and John
Donohue, but unfortunately there is no discussion of preschool or even
elementary school).

But let me consider the second hand too. I recently wrote a piece on
rather structured play in elementary school and the effect it had on
developing grammar and vocabulary. I gave it the somewhat unfortunate
title "Forced Choices" and submitted it to a journal of "dialogic"
pedagogy. Although it was recommended for publication by two of the
three reviewers, it was actually rejected by the editors, who supplied
a long list of recommendations that I had to comply with before they
would consent to publication. These included changing the title, and
also changing the tenor of the argument--in favor of play for fun
rather than for some academic purpose. It seems to me that this is
actually fairly common practice: the more we write about elementary
school and preschool, the more monolithic, and may I say, demogogic we
find the academic consensus.

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies



On 18 August 2014 04:34, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
> David KEL
>
> What sort of organization of poor kids' education do your non-straw people
> recommend?  Where might we see it in action today? Is it the strategy
> advocated by Engelmann and the DI movement? If not, how does it differ?
>
> A related question. Is the Vivian Paley curriculum that Ageliki has done
> extensive research on improperly conceived?
>
> So far as I know, no one in this discussion has advocated free play for the
> poor. Not even free straw!
>
> I am way behind the discussion and on the road, but at least free wi-fi in
> crowded airports allows a few minutes to read and peck at a keyboard!
>
> Mike
>
>
>
>
>
> On Sunday, August 17, 2014, David H Kirshner <dkirsh@lsu.edu> wrote:
>
>> David,
>> Thanks for your insightful post.
>> In scrolling down below your message, to recover the context, I was
>> faced--as all of us so often are--with the garbling effect that comes from
>> use of the ">" program that separates out the various generations of
>> response by inserting a new level of ">" for each new message.
>> That formatting option may serve a valuable function in case two or more
>> authors are replying to each other with comments embedded in the prior
>> text. But that kind of communicative format is not used very frequently,
>> and even when it is, the line-break function of the program tends to
>> fragment sentences to the point of incoherence (see below).
>> I suspect this format continues to be in popular use because people who
>> use it feel a sense of comfort with the tradition of usage that trumps
>> functionality concerns, or perhaps they just don't know how to change
>> formats.
>> Are there other reasons?
>> David
>>
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <javascript:;> [mailto:
>> xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <javascript:;>] On Behalf Of David Kellogg
>> Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2014 9:27 PM
>> To: Mike Cole; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: A request for assistance
>>
>> It seems to me that no straw man is really necessary here; there are very
>> real proponents for the argument that so-called "child-centred" education
>> privileges the rich and keeps working class kids in the dark about the
>> unwritten gentleman's code that surrounds "humanistic" education. I'm one,
>> but I think that Agelika has some more important adversaries.
>>
>> The first opponent to attack is Vygotsky. In his lecture on psychological
>> development (in the untranslated "Foundations of Pedagogy"), he points out
>> that children raised in orphanages do not develop speech as well as those
>> who are raised in families, and he surmises that it is because that
>> children use amongst each other is simply not as demanding as that which
>> parents use. He also says that deaf children who are raised with siblings
>> will not develop signing as well as those who are raised by deaf parents,
>> and from this he concludes that ontogenesis is different from "natural"
>> processes like ontogenesis and even sociogenesis, in that the final form
>> of development has to be present and in interaction for development to take
>> place.
>>
>> The second person to attack is Halliday (as well as Ruqaiya Hasan, Clare
>> Painter, and the whole of the systemic-functional school). Influenced by
>> Bernstein, they argued that "child-centred" forms of education supplied
>> only implicit knowledge of register and genre which reinforced what middle
>> class kids already knew, but was too implicit for kids not previously
>> exposed to the genre at home. This argument was violently rejected by Labov
>> (who I think did not really understand it). Curiously, though, nobody
>> rejects the idea that when a child speaks a foreign language at home, they
>> might need more explicit help with academic genres in school.
>>
>> The third person to attack is Gordon Wells, who demonstrated that
>> differences in language surfaced already at three years old, and they were
>> traceable to the quality of conversation that children were receiving at
>> home. In particular, kids left with televisions or playing with younger
>> siblings were at a definite disadvantage in comparison with children who
>> were left with books and caring parents.
>>
>> This is somehow reminiscent of the recent furore over Amy Chua's book
>> "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother". Its follow up "The Triple Package" is
>> really about this issue as well. As usual, when there are such strong
>> feelings on both sides, it is probable that both have something important
>> to contribute. The real problem, and Agelika says, is that only one side is
>> really being heard. For all its pleasant air of toleration, academic
>> literature can be quite totalitarian.
>>
>> David Kellogg
>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On 17 August 2014 09:43, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com <javascript:;>>
>> wrote:
>>
>> > Hmmm. Its not on the front page.     http://www.nifdi.org/about-di
>> > mike'
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > On Sat, Aug 16, 2014 at 5:38 PM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com
>> <javascript:;>> wrote:
>> >
>> > > I am not seeing any cases here where Engelmann, who is behind a lot
>> > > of
>> > the
>> > > direct instruction game, still, is quoted as saying that play is
>> > > useless
>> > if
>> > > not bad for poor/different kids although it might be find for the
>> > > loquacious middle class.
>> > >
>> > > There has to be a smoking gun out there on their website or some
>> > > public presentation.
>> > > mike
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > On Sat, Aug 16, 2014 at 1:24 PM, William Blanton
>> > > <blantonwe@gmail.com <javascript:;>>
>> > > wrote:
>> > >
>> > >> Hi Ageliki,
>> > >>
>> > >> You might take a read of some of Madeline Hunter's writing.
>> > >> Attached is two bibs on direct instruction. You might also take a
>> > >> look an Ken Goodman's argument against direct instruction. Another
>> > >> interesting challenge
>> > against
>> > >> direct instruction is Cole's idea of basic literacy activity rather
>> > >> than basic liter skills.
>> > >>
>> > >> BB
>> > >>
>> > >>
>> > >> On Sat, Aug 16, 2014 at 7:59 AM, Carol Macdonald
>> > >> <carolmacdon@gmail.com <javascript:;>
>> > >
>> > >> wrote:
>> > >>
>> > >> > Hi Ageliki
>> > >> >
>> > >> > There was an approach called DISTAR - Direct Instruction Systems
>> > >> > for
>> > the
>> > >> > Teaching of Arithmetic and Reading.  Their claim - 70's and 80's
>> > >> > was
>> > >> that
>> > >> > this was the best way to teach working class children. But this
>> > >> > was
>> > >> formal
>> > >> > instruction at K-6 or so. I cannot think that this could be moved
>> > >> > downwards. You can see examples on YouTube, noticing just what
>> > >> > the materials look like.
>> > >> >
>> > >> > Preschool children are building up repertoires of vocabulary and
>> > >> > so
>> > on,
>> > >> and
>> > >> > this could hardly be done in a formal way. Reading stories and
>> > >> information
>> > >> > books would be done in Shared Reading formats.  That's the best I
>> > >> > can
>> > >> do,
>> > >> > but I look forward to other views.
>> > >> >
>> > >> > Bereiter..
>> > >> >
>> > >> > Carol
>> > >> >
>> > >> >
>> > >> > On 16 August 2014 16:11, Ageliki Nicolopoulou <agn3@lehigh.edu
>> <javascript:;>>
>> > wrote:
>> > >> >
>> > >> > > Dear XMCA community,
>> > >> > >
>> > >> > > I'm looking for a piece of information, and I wonder whether
>> > >> > > someone
>> > >> on
>> > >> > the
>> > >> > > XMCA list has it at their fingertips.
>> > >> > >
>> > >> > > I'm writing something that deals with Vivian Paley's
>> > >> > > storytelling
>> > and
>> > >> > > story-acting practice. Among other things, that activity is an
>> > >> example of
>> > >> > > child-centered, play-based, and constructivist approaches to
>> > >> > > early
>> > >> child
>> > >> > > education--the kinds of approaches that have been getting
>> > >> > > squeezed
>> > >> out by
>> > >> > > preschool practices that exclusively emphasize
>> > >> > > teacher-centered,
>> > >> didactic
>> > >> > > transmission of specific academic skills by direct instruction.
>> > >> > >
>> > >> > > A lot of people think that pushing down didacted/academic
>> > >> > > teaching practices into preschool education is a good thing in
>> general.
>> > >> However,
>> > >> > > there are some people who might be willing to concede that more
>> > >> > > child-centered, play-based, and constructivist might be OK for
>> > >> > > young children from educated middle class families ... but that
>> > >> > > they won't
>> > >> work
>> > >> > > for poor and otherwise disadvantaged children. THOSE kids need
>> > direct
>> > >> > > instruction to transmit "basic skills", and giving them
>> > >> > > anything
>> > else
>> > >> is,
>> > >> > > at best, a distraction from giving them what they need for
>> > >> > > school readiness.
>> > >> > >
>> > >> > > My problem is this.  As we all know, a lot of people think
>> > >> > > that, and
>> > >> they
>> > >> > > say it in conversation, and they make written arguments that
>> > >> > > rest implicitly on that premise. In fact, this outlook is very
>> > >> > > widespread
>> > >> and
>> > >> > > influential. But I've found that very few of them seem to be
>> > >> > > willing
>> > >> to
>> > >> > > actually SAY it explicitly in their published work. I'm talking
>> > about
>> > >> > > academics and policymakers. There are pro-direct-instruction
>> > websites
>> > >> > that
>> > >> > > say it pretty straightforwardly. But journals want academic
>> > citations
>> > >> in
>> > >> > > articles, so I'm trying to find one.
>> > >> > >
>> > >> > > *So does anyone out there know of any published work where
>> > >> > > someone
>> > >> > actually
>> > >> > > SAYS that in writing?  That is, that more child-oriented,
>> > play-based,
>> > >> and
>> > >> > > constructivist preschool practices (however they actually
>> > >> > > describe
>> > >> them)
>> > >> > > might be OK for young children from educated middle-class
>> > >> > > homes, but
>> > >> are
>> > >> > > useless or even harmful for poor and disadvantaged kids, who
>> > >> > > need
>> > more
>> > >> > > teacher-centered, skill-based direct instruction?*
>> > >> > >
>> > >> > > I figured it couldn't hurt to ask.
>> > >> > >
>> > >> > > Thanks,
>> > >> > > Ageliki Nicolopoulou
>> > >> > >
>> > >> > > ________________
>> > >> > > Ageliki Nicolopoulou
>> > >> > > Professor of Psychology & Global Studies Personal Webpage:
>> > >> http://lehigh.academia.edu/AgelikiNicolopoulou/About
>> > >> > > Departmental Webpage:
>> > >> http://cas.lehigh.edu/CASWeb/default.aspx?id=1430
>> > >> > >
>> > >> >
>> > >> >
>> > >> >
>> > >> > --
>> > >> > Carol A  Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
>> > >> > Developmental psycholinguist
>> > >> > Academic, Researcher,  and Editor Honorary Research Fellow:
>> > >> > Department of Linguistics, Unisa
>> > >> >
>> > >>
>> > >
>> > >
>> >
>>
>>