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[Xmca-l] Re: In defense of Vygotsky [[The fallacy of word-meaning]



Andy:

Now I feel we are nearly together, here. There is no 'final' form even of simple arithmetic, because it is (as social practices are) continually evolving.

Just one more step then: our conversation with the 7 year old child about the truth of 7plus 4 equals 10 is a part of this social practice, and contributes to it....? The event involved in this Perezhivanie here involves a situation that is created by the joint activity of the child with us?

Peg: Germ cell for the social practice of mathematics... I wonder if there is a problem with Davydov's approach, in that it requires a specification of the final form of the mathematics to be learnt (a closed curriculum). But let me try: One candidate might be the 'reasoned justification for a mathematical use/application to our project' ... Implies meaningful verbal thought/interaction, and collective mathematical activity with others. Not sure how this works to define your curriculum content etc.

Julian


On 23 Oct 2014, at 16:28, "Peg Griffin" <Peg.Griffin@att.net> wrote:

> And thus the importance of finding a good germ cell for mathematics pedagogy
> -- because a germ cell can "grow with" and "grow" the current "social
> practice of mathematics." Whether someone agrees with the choice of germ
> cell made by Davidov (or anyone else), a germ cell needs to be identified,
> justified and relied on to generate curriculum content and practice, right?
> PG   
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
> Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2014 10:35 AM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: In defense of Vygotsky [[The fallacy of word-meaning]
> 
> Julian,
> The claim that the ideal exists in the social environment from the beginning
> is quite consistent, indeed relies upon, the claim that the ideal is being
> continuously subject to transformation, that is, that mathematicians are
> active developing the content of mathematics in the context of the problems
> and resources the community is generating. Were this not the case, it would
> be very difficult (though not impossible) for kids to acquire a mathematical
> disposition.
> 
> I think the basic ontogenetic principle fully applies to mathematics. 
> But the ideal is certainly not the absolute truths of arithmetic taught in
> South African elementary schools. The ideal is the *social practice of
> mathematics*. That is, of course, by its very nature, continually evolving
> and transforming. The ideal is a pair of shifting goal posts.
> 
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> 
> 
> Julian Williams wrote:
>> Andy/Carol
>> 
>> I would like to expand a bit on Andy's point -
>> 
>> First, I have often had very interesting discussions with children who
> work out that 7+4 = 10 ... this is usually accomplished by a 'counting on'
> method, which begins with the 7 ("1") and goes 7 ("1"),8 ("2") ,9 ("3") ,10
> "4- there we are, 10!" ...
>> 
>> 7 --   8 --- 9 -- 10
>> 1 ...  2 ... 3 ... 4
>> 
>> Similarly 10 - 4 = 7 etc.
>> 
>> (It doesn't really matter whether the teacher accepts the answer or 
>> not - the kids keep getting the answer 10... and we have data to prove 
>> it; until one day they are told they are hopeless and its time for 
>> them to leave and go down the mines/factory. See Billy Connolly's 
>> youtube hit  on 'algebra'..)
>> 
>> Second: Im pleased to say that the best arithmetic I am seeing in schools
> now bears almost no relation to that I experienced 50 odd years ago as a
> learner, and that I taught as a teacher  30 years ago... although there
> seems still to be a lot that hasn't changed as much as Id like. Im thinking
> of a lesson wherein different groups of children modelled their 'proofs'
> that 3x28 = 84 using various methods, tools, etc.
>> 
>> So Im afraid the story that arithmetic already exists in some ideal 
>> form in the social - cultural plane (eg in adult practices?), and so 
>> can/has to be somehow made present for the youngster in their earlier 
>> stages of development (if that's what Vygotsky really meant) is far 
>> too simple for me, and at its worst leads to terrible schooling 
>> practices, where there is no room for a child's intelligent argument 
>> that 7 + 4 really equals 10
>> 
>> :-)
>> 
>> Julian
>> 
>> Andy: my sleight of hand here is that I translate your formulation of what
> leontiev says "there is one true object/ive and the kids should come to know
> it" into Vygotsky's " ideal form of arithmetic" where child development must
> end up... thus your critique of Leontiev becomes my complaint about
> Vygtosky's perezhivanie paper. Im sure you will say "not fair"?
>> 
>> 
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu 
>> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
>> Sent: 23 October 2014 14:50
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: In defense of Vygotsky [[The fallacy of 
>> word-meaning]
>> 
>> Mathematics today is nothing like it was 300 years ago, Carol, even if 
>> it is in a South African elementary school. And the teacher wouldn't 
>> accept it if Johnny said that apes had evolved from human either or 
>> that gravity went clockwise.  The ability to correctly reproduce 
>> things like
>> 4+7=11 is not in my experience any evidence that a child has grasped
>> what + or = means, and certainly no evidence that they have any grasp of
> mathematics or even number. Of course, we might take the view that they
> never will anyway, so being able to add is good enough for them.
>> 
>> But if we take the view that it is worthwhile that a child learn what
> science is and what mathematics is about, then in my view, the problems are
> essentially the same whichever science it is.
>> 
>> Of course, in general, the attitude a teacher takes to their material is
> that it is objectively true and the kids should come to know it. But this
> stance or attitude to knowledge, or science, is a very poor preparation for
> adult life and citizenship. I don't see mathematics in principle as being an
> exception. Perhaps a little teaching of the history of mathematics would
> help? I don't know.
>> 
>> Andy
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>> --
>> *Andy Blunden*
>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>> 
>> 
>> Carol Macdonald wrote:
>> 
>>> Andy
>>> 
>>> I realise that, but it much more robust than orthodox science; i.e. 
>>> we are still doing the same maths as 300 years ago, where normal 
>>> science is very different indeed.
>>> 
>>> If Johnny said that 4+7=10, the teacher is not going to accept that, 
>>> is she?
>>> 
>>> Carol
>>> 
>>> On 23 October 2014 10:02, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net 
>>> <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>> 
>>>    Carol, mathematics is a natural science like any other.
>>>    It is neither the absolute truth nor merely social convention.
>>> 
>>>    Andy
>>> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>    *Andy Blunden*
>>>    http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>>    <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>> 
>>> 
>>>    Carol Macdonald wrote:
>>> 
>>>        Julian, Andy
>>> 
>>>        I think arithmetic is something of a test case. Just as word
>>>        meaning
>>>        changes over time in a dynamic way, as recognised by
>>>        linguists, maths
>>>        truths don't. It would be difficult to argue that maths truths
>>>        of basic
>>>        arithmetic have changed over the centuries. I don't know about
>>>        maths truths
>>>        of a higher order.
>>> 
>>>        Sorry if I use the terms arithmetic and maths interchangeably;
>>>        it's a South
>>>        African usage here in basic education.
>>> 
>>>        Carol
>>> 
>>>        On 23 October 2014 08:33, Julian Williams
>>>        <julian.williams@manchester.ac.uk
>>>        <mailto:julian.williams@manchester.ac.uk>>
>>>        wrote:
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>>            Andy
>>> 
>>>            Yes, just so,  this is why I go to social theory eg Marx
>>>            and Bourdieu to
>>>            find political-economic contradictions within and between
>>>            activities.
>>> 
>>>            But before we go there have we finally dispensed with the
>>>            notion in
>>>            Vygotsky's Perezhivanie paper that the situation or
>>>            environment is given
>>>            and the same for all, and the final form of development is
>>>            given in a
>>>            final, given 'ideal' form right from the beginning ( being
>>>            then associated
>>>            with an already given social plane).
>>> 
>>>            I'm happy enough to accept that this is a false  and
>>>            undialectical reading
>>>            of Vygotsky (after all who knows how the concept of
>>>            perezhivanie might have
>>>            matured in his hands)...
>>> 
>>>            To return to my case - arithmetic. Many will say this
>>>            exists in ideal form
>>>            in the culture and all that needs to be done by
>>>            development is to bring the
>>>            child into the culture... Then the child is 'schooled'...
>>>            Passive, lacking
>>>            in agency, often failed, and at best made obedient to the
>>>            cultural legacy.
>>>            AsBourdieu says, through processes in school the class
>>>            system is
>>>            reproduced, and this is enculturation into the cultural
>>>            arbitrary.
>>> 
>>>            Julian
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>>            On 23 Oct 2014, at 07:08, "Andy Blunden"
>>>            <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>>                No, the point is that for ANL "meaning" refers to the
>>>                one true meaning
>>> 
>>> 
>>>            of something. He does not allow that the meaning of
>>>            something may be
>>>            contested, and that a meaning may be contested because of
>>>            heterogeneity in
>>>            society, different social classes, genders, ethnic groups,
>>>            social movements
>>>            and so on. For ANL there is only the one true meaning of
>>>            something which
>>>            "everyone knows" or individual, personal meanings, which
>>>            are therefore
>>>            taken to be subjective.
>>> 
>>> 
>>>                Andy
>>> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>                *Andy Blunden*
>>>                http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>>                <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>> 
>>> 
>>>                Annalisa Aguilar wrote:
>>> 
>>> 
>>>                    This continues and extends from my original post
>>>                    concerning Andy's
>>> 
>>> 
>>>            breakdown of ANL vs. LSV. There are about 8 points
>>>            total... [copypasta is a
>>>            starch of art]
>>>            --------------------------------------------------- 6. [The
>>>            fallacy of word-meaning] (see original post below)
>>>            --------------------------------------------------- You
>>>            say: "ANL believes
>>>            that motivation determines perception. The norm of 
>>>            perception, the "true"
>>>            meaning of an object, is therefore the meaning  it has for
>>>            the community as
>>>            a whole. I am questioning the validity of this concept of
>>>            "community as a
>>>            whole" in this context." So is it the case that
>>>            word-meaning is denied by
>>>            ANL because meaning and symbols "must be" cohesive across
>>>            the culture and
>>>            cannot have personal or spontaneous meaning? I can see the
>>>            reason
>>>            politically to emphasize this, if the State is sanctioned
>>>            as the sole
>>>            arbiter of meaning. --- clip from previous post below Wed,
>>>            22 Oct 2014
>>>            06:28:48 +0000 Annalisa wrote:
>>> 
>>> 
>>>                        _6th charge_: The fallacy of word-meaning
>>>                        ---------- ANL believes that
>>> 
>>> 
>>>            the mental representation in a child's awareness must
>>>            _correspond_ directly
>>>            to the object in reality, and not just perceptually, but
>>>            also how the
>>>            object may relate and associate to other objects and their
>>>            meanings. The
>>>            example is a table. Because of this definition of, what I
>>>            will call here
>>>            for convenience (i.e., my laziness) "object-awareness",
>>>            ANL takes exception
>>>            with LSV's rendering of a _single word_ to stand as a
>>>            generalization to
>>>            reference the meaning of the word and as an independent unit
>>>            (word-meaning). Furthermore, ANL disagrees with the
>>>            existence of these
>>>            word-meanings, _as units_, but he also disagrees that they
>>>            are what
>>>            construct consciousness as a whole. ANL can say this
>>>            because he considers
>>>            consciousness and intellect to be synonymous. ----------
>>> 
>>> 
>>>                            Andy's reply to #6 above: ANL believes
>>>                            that motivation determines
>>> 
>>> 
>>>            perception. The norm of perception, the "true" meaning of
>>>            an object, is
>>>            therefore the meaning it has for the community as a whole.
>>>            I am questioning
>>>            the validity of this concept of "community as a whole" in
>>>            this context.
>>> 
>>> 
>>>                --end
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> --
>>> Carol A  Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
>>> Developmental psycholinguist
>>> Academic, Researcher,  and Editor
>>> Honorary Research Fellow: Department of Linguistics, Unisa
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>