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[Xmca-l] Re: In defense of Vygotsky [[The fallacy of word-meaning]
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- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: In defense of Vygotsky [[The fallacy of word-meaning]
- From: Julian Williams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:24:17 +0000
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- Thread-topic: [Xmca-l] Re: In defense of Vygotsky [[The fallacy of word-meaning]
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.
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?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: email@example.com
> [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] 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]
> 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
> 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 Blunden*
> Julian Williams wrote:
>> 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
>> 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: email@example.com
>> [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] 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
>> 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 Blunden*
>> Carol Macdonald wrote:
>>> 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?
>>> On 23 October 2014 10:02, Andy Blunden <email@example.com
>>> <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>> wrote:
>>> Carol, mathematics is a natural science like any other.
>>> It is neither the absolute truth nor merely social convention.
>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>> Carol Macdonald wrote:
>>> Julian, Andy
>>> I think arithmetic is something of a test case. Just as word
>>> 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.
>>> On 23 October 2014 08:33, Julian Williams
>>> Yes, just so, this is why I go to social theory eg Marx
>>> and Bourdieu to
>>> find political-economic contradictions within and between
>>> 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
>>> On 23 Oct 2014, at 07:08, "Andy Blunden"
>>> <email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>> 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 Blunden*
>>> 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
>>> 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.
>>> Carol A Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
>>> Developmental psycholinguist
>>> Academic, Researcher, and Editor
>>> Honorary Research Fellow: Department of Linguistics, Unisa