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[Xmca-l] Re: "The political" and "power" in learning



Thanks, Helena.   <http://sync.democraticunderground.com/~IdaBriggs>
http://sync.democraticunderground.com/user_avatars/147749.jpg

 

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
[mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Helena Worthen
Sent: Monday, December 01, 2014 11:20 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: "The political" and "power" in learning

 

Dana --

 

Thanks for linking Hong Kong (students) Ferguson and Oakland (following the
murder of Oscar Grant, I assume; young Black men). And let's include the 43
disappeared students at the teacher training school in Iguala, Mexico. Those
students were enrolled at one of the rural teacher training schools that
date back into the Mexican revolution and take on politics and power
directly.

 

This is the best reporting of the 43 Disappeareds that I've seen in the US.
It's very close to what La Jornada was publishing in early November.

 

 
<http://www.vice.com/video/the-missing-43-mexicos-disappeared-students-full-
length-678>
http://www.vice.com/video/the-missing-43-mexicos-disappeared-students-full-l
ength-678

 

 

Helena Worthen

 <mailto:helenaworthen@gmail.com> helenaworthen@gmail.com

 

On Dec 1, 2014, at 5:45 PM, Walker, Dana wrote:

 

> Hi Miguel,

> 

> I would be very interested in continuing this thread on "the political"

> and "power" in learning. My participation will be slow, as I will be 

> at the LRA conference in Florida and then finals and so on, but will 

> follow with interest. I have changed thread title in anticipation of 

> pursuing this exploration.

> 

> Does Ferguson (or Oakland, or New York, or Hong Kong, or Cairo) matter 

> in considerations of 'the political' and 'power' in learning (and
teaching)?

> 

> Dana

> 

> On 11/28/14 5:07 PM, "Zavala, Miguel" 

> < <mailto:mizavala@exchange.fullerton.edu>
mizavala@exchange.fullerton.edu>

> wrote:

> 

>> Hi Dana,

>> 

>> I believe there are several ways to go with an analysis of "the
political"

>> or "power" in learning.  First, is to search for its 

>> articulation/theorization in existing studies (whether conceptual or

>> empirical) within the learning sciences more generally. Who has 

>> attempted this work? Also, In the general absence of studies 

>> theorizing "the political" or "power" in learning (which I gather is 

>> an accurate depiction of the field), one might pursue the ways in 

>> which "context" is narrowly framed in distinct frames/theories of 

>> learning.  In what ways does/can CHAT enable the analysis of "the
political" and "power" in learning?

>> 

>> Now, due to time constraints, this project may take time; perhaps 

>> there is a smaller group that would like to continue with this 

>> thread/exploration of "the political" or "power" in learning. I place 

>> questions of politics and power in quotation marks because they need 

>> to be unpacked, like many concepts.

>> 

>> I believe there is another route one can take, and that is to begin 

>> with our own political biographies, how we view the world and its 

>> transformation. In a sense, we all have our biographies of coming to
CHAT.

>> How is CHAT a tool in our practical work (as educators, 

>> action-researchers, community organizers, etc.)?  Because processes 

>> are relational, I imagine that our own biographies, positionalities, 

>> and standpoints (which function more like collective consciousness 

>> and practices, borrowing here from the work of Sandra Harding) are 

>> not only inflected in our appropriations of CHAT but are interwoven; 

>> they shift from "external" to "internal" processes of of both 

>> research and praxis (informed by our politics).  I recognize there 

>> are many points being made here and "dangers", especially when one 

>> views learning as a-political or mechanistic, but I take that risk.

>> 

>> Attached is a chapter outlining my political philosophy. It was 

>> published as part of a text that asked contributors to name our
"pedagogic creeds"

>> (á la Dewey). 

>> 

>> -Miguel

>> 

>> 

>> On 11/27/14 8:12 AM, "Walker, Dana" < <mailto:Dana.Walker@unco.edu>
Dana.Walker@unco.edu> wrote:

>> 

>>> Gracias Miguel, and Mike and Larry for responding and for moving 

>>> forward this thread of thought begun by Annalisa.

>>> 

>>> Miguel, I remember now (based on a conference presentation of yours 

>>> years

>>> ago) that your pedagogical and theoretical work involving migrant 

>>> students at UCLA addressed questions of power, subjectivity, and 

>>> embodied selves in boundary crossing processes in ways that other 

>>> CHAT theorists (e.g., Tuomi-Grohn & Engestrom, 2003; Grossen & 

>>> Zittoun, 2012) do not.  I wonder if this is a place where we could 

>>> begin exploring the question of power in relation to learning and 

>>> development? Is there an article of yours that you might suggest on 

>>> this subject?

>>> 

>>> Dana

>>> 

>>> 

>>> On 11/27/14 12:02 AM, "Zavala, Miguel" 

>>> < <mailto:mizavala@exchange.fullerton.edu>
mizavala@exchange.fullerton.edu>

>>> wrote:

>>> 

>>>> Gracias Annalisa and Dana.

>>>> 

>>>> Questions of power have always been central to my work and I am a 

>>>> new member of this list (and community) and don't have a broader 

>>>> context as to why it was created and whether it is by design meant 

>>>> to grow in its own way over time, etc. What I have noticed though 

>>>> is a tendency to focus on conceptual clarity (of the work of 

>>>> Vygotsky and Cultural Historical Activity Theory and prior, such as 

>>>> Marx). So, I am learning anew in this space, taking notes, 

>>>> re-reading.  In many ways it reminds me of the CHAT reading group 

>>>> many of us at UCLA visualized but never materialized formally, 

>>>> except that our reading and writing the world with Vygotsky's ideas 

>>>> (and others) did materialize in the beautiful pedagogical work we 

>>>> did with migrant students at that time...

>>>> 

>>>> I hope the question of how we use, expand, enrich, re-envision, and 

>>>> carry forward the ideas of Vygotsky (and how these intersect with 

>>>> or interweave with power) are considered in an open and 

>>>> non-controlled way.  By "non-controlled" I mean the parallel 

>>>> tendency in particular circles/communities to challenge work that 

>>>> grows out of particular ideas and if those ideas do not adhere to 

>>>> some party-line (or experts on said theory don't agree on it) then 

>>>> such work should not define itself as "Vygotskian", "CHAT-based", 

>>>> or "Socio-Cultural," etc. My own motivation to chime in and 

>>>> contribute would increase if we followed this strand, that looks at 

>>>> power and how it is integral to (not a 'factor' or 'external'

>>>> context) learningŠ Although the reading group orientation is still 

>>>> useful.

>>>> 

>>>> Warmly,

>>>> 

>>>> Miguel Zavala

>>>> 

>>>> 

>>>> 

>>>> On 11/26/14 10:38 PM, "Walker, Dana" < <mailto:Dana.Walker@unco.edu>
Dana.Walker@unco.edu> wrote:

>>>> 

>>>>> Before we leave this topic, I would like to suggest that we pause 

>>>>> to consider Annalisa's question:

>>>>> 

>>>>> I'm curious how others have been inspired by Vygotsky and 

>>>>> sociocultural theory, and even other manifestations of his ideas, 

>>>>> such as CHAT, etc and how people are using these approaches in 

>>>>> their work. What is that like for you? And to be more specific, 

>>>>> what is that like for women and people of color? I'm also 

>>>>> interested in thinking-out-loud with others about Vygotskian 

>>>>> concepts that are not easy to understand; to employ in real time 

>>>>> dialogue and social interaction to leap over zopeds together. 

>>>>> Isn't that what a listserv is for? Or am I being too idealistic?

>>>>> 

>>>>> 

>>>>> For many years I have wondered why the participants on this list 

>>>>> so seldom talk from contextualized positions, specifically 

>>>>> positioning the self in relation to others and to power relations 

>>>>> shaped by race, class, gender, and so on.  I am myself very aware 

>>>>> of power relations being played out through the discursive 

>>>>> positioning of people in this space, which is why I choose not to 

>>>>> speak. I am wondering if any of the subscribers to this list are 

>>>>> interested such questions, including the one framed by Annalisa 

>>>>> above?

>>>>> Kris Gutierrez is the only one I know of in CHAT/sociocultural 

>>>>> theory who deals with these issues, for example in her article 

>>>>> "Developing a Sociocritical Literacy in the Third Space"(2008). 

>>>>> But I'm sure there are others.

>>>>> 

>>>>> Dana           

>>>>> 

>>>>> On 11/26/14 10:49 PM, "Carol Macdonald" <
<mailto:carolmacdon@gmail.com> carolmacdon@gmail.com> wrote:

>>>>> 

>>>>>> Hi

>>>>>> 

>>>>>> There have been some off list postings about this phenomenon. 

>>>>>> None of it complimentary.  This cannot be sorted out in one move.

>>>>>> 

>>>>>> I propose that we move onto a different thread -  topic.

>>>>>> 

>>>>>> Mike, would you like to start us off on something new?

>>>>>> 

>>>>>> Carol

>>>>>> 

>>>>>> On 27 November 2014 at 02:49, Martin John Packer 

>>>>>> < <mailto:mpacker@uniandes.edu.co> mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>

>>>>>> wrote:

>>>>>> 

>>>>>>> Andy, if you're going to retire, then retire. But don't aim one 

>>>>>>> or two more underhand blows behind the feint of retiring.

>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>> Martin

>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>> On Nov 26, 2014, at 7:24 PM, Andy Blunden <
<mailto:ablunden@mira.net> ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>> Well this bloke will retire again at this point. I thought for 

>>>>>>>> a

>>>>>>> brief

>>>>>>> moment there, I thought we had a breakthrough. Certainly, Huw's 

>>>>>>> "real illusion" is perfectly apt to my mind (it's an expression 

>>>>>>> Marx uses), or in  Eric Fromm's words, an illusion with 

>>>>>>> "survival value." Martin says "Consciousness is an objective 

>>>>>>> process that *sometimes* can *give rise

>>>>>>> to*

>>>>>>> illusions." As Vygotsky says "For him psychology is partly 

>>>>>>> phenomenology."

>>>>>>>> Andy

>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>> ----------------------------------------------------------------

>>>>>>> -----

>>>>>>> -

>>>>>>> -

>>>>>>> -

>>>>>>>> *Andy Blunden*

>>>>>>>>  <http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/>
http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/

>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>> Bruce Robinson wrote:

>>>>>>>>> Henry,

>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>> Your wife's question leads to another: who speaks for the 

>>>>>>>>> silent

>>>>>>> majority, many of whom, like me, must be getting fed up with 

>>>>>>> what David K calls a "rather blokish struggle for power over 

>>>>>>> particular words'?

>>>>>>> [Not

>>>>>>> Richard Nixon :)]

>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>> Bruce R

>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>> PS: You may also note that I have not changed the subject 

>>>>>>>>> heading

>>>>>>> of

>>>>>>> this message so that it bears no relation to the content. 

>>>>>>> Something else I find irritating...

>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>> On 26/11/2014 17:16, HENRY SHONERD wrote:

>>>>>>>>>> Sister Analisa,

>>>>>>>>>> Thank you for responding! I was just talking to my wife 

>>>>>>>>>> (getting

>>>>>>> personal!) about the chat. She asked me, "How does anyone get to 

>>>>>>> participate in the (XMCA) chat if only a few people take part?" 

>>>>>>> I wondered in my email below if too much was expected of written 

>>>>>>> communication in the XMCA chat. With 800 people potentially 

>>>>>>> taking turns, well...what is even possible logistically? Mike 

>>>>>>> Cole has talked about this, and, I think, has some suggestions 

>>>>>>> on how to deal with the bottlenecking. But even small scale 

>>>>>>> communication can be daunting. I watched, with my wife, a 

>>>>>>> Richard Linklater movie last night, "Before Midnight". Two 

>>>>>>> people, face to face, in a totally committed relationship, smart 

>>>>>>> people, good people, trying so hard to get it right. Always a 

>>>>>>> work in progress. But it's worth it. The alternative is despair. 

>>>>>>> I am sure of this: This chat, which seems to get bogged down in 

>>>>>>> abstractions, pure thinking in the mud, is really consequential 

>>>>>>> beyond the sensitivities of academics. I said we

>>>>>>>>> va

>>>>>>>>>> lue Vygotsky's "heroism", but that's too macho. I should have

>>>>>>> said

>>>>>>> courage.

>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>> The Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis is a powerful idea, 

>>>>>>>>>> often

>>>>>>> called

>>>>>>> the Whorf/Sapir hypothesis. Google it. Really. See what you think.

>>>>>>> One

>>>>>>> gauge of the power of an idea is if it has found its way into 

>>>>>>> popular discourse. I just this morning heard an NPR radio 

>>>>>>> program (thanks again to my wife, who was listening when she 

>>>>>>> heard something she thought I would be interested in) that dealt 

>>>>>>> with the Whorf/Sapir hypothesis in its strong and weak form.

>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>> Henry

>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> On Nov 25, 2014, at 10:11 PM, Annalisa Aguilar

>>>>>>> < <mailto:annalisa@unm.edu> annalisa@unm.edu>

>>>>>>> wrote:

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> Dear Henry,

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> Thank you for your reply.

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> I don't think being personal (or even personable) requires

>>>>>>> being

>>>>>>> heated. Does this have to do with my comment of warmth as a sign 

>>>>>>> of welcome?

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> To speak about culture non-personally is not something I am

>>>>>>> adept

>>>>>>> at

>>>>>>> doing. We are always speaking from where we stand, the culture 

>>>>>>> that we are in or from, what-have-you.

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> Respectfully, I do not know what "linguistic relativity

>>>>>>> hypothesis"

>>>>>>> is. So please be patient with me while I connect this academic 

>>>>>>> idea you have offered to this conversation so that I can relate 

>>>>>>> that to my personal experience speaking on this thread, though 

>>>>>>> clearly I'm not speaking literally right now, but it is speech 

>>>>>>> from me, not a sock puppet with my voice thrown from the 

>>>>>>> position of objective reality.

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> You are talking about speaking two languages. But it seems 

>>>>>>>>>>> we

>>>>>>> are

>>>>>>> all

>>>>>>> speaking English on this list. So I'm a bit lost right there 

>>>>>>> what you are trying to say to me.

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> Then, you speak of metalinguistics and how it represents

>>>>>>> different

>>>>>>> worldviews, if you don't mind me swapping your use of "perspective"

>>>>>>> for

>>>>>>> worldview. There is a lot of time clearing muckups to get it right.

>>>>>>> I'm

>>>>>>> not

>>>>>>> sure that it ever gets right though, which troubles me. I have 

>>>>>>> found that many people who have different worldviews communicate 

>>>>>>> by "talking to,"

>>>>>>> rather than "talking at." I feel, for example, you and I are 

>>>>>>> talking to one another, despite our likely different POVs.

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> I don't know what the "perish and dapple of Andy" means when

>>>>>>> you

>>>>>>> say

>>>>>>> that. From what I can tell he's trying to define something for 

>>>>>>> himself asking for the help of others. That's fine and I'm 

>>>>>>> learning that definitions are very bas-relief for him. I think 

>>>>>>> my interests are a little different. So I'd prefer to orient to 

>>>>>>> my interests, if that is OK.

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> Speaking of metalinguistics, rather than debate over

>>>>>>> definitions,

>>>>>>> I'm

>>>>>>> more interested in speaking to the very different people who are 

>>>>>>> on this list. The rumor is there are 800 folks out there. Where 

>>>>>>> are you? :) To reference a highly academic quote from the Wizard 

>>>>>>> of Oz:

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> "Come out, come out wherever you are, and meet the young 

>>>>>>>>>>> lady

>>>>>>> who

>>>>>>> fell from the star!"

>>>>>>>>>>> --Glinda, the Good Witch from the North (waves magic wand)

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> I'm curious how others have been inspired by Vygotsky and

>>>>>>> sociocultural theory, and even other manifestations of his 

>>>>>>> ideas, such as CHAT, etc and how people are using these 

>>>>>>> approaches in their work.

>>>>>>> What

>>>>>>> is

>>>>>>> that like for you? And to be more specific, what is that like 

>>>>>>> for women and people of color? I'm also interested in 

>>>>>>> thinking-out-loud with others about Vygotskian concepts that are 

>>>>>>> not easy to understand; to employ in real time dialogue and 

>>>>>>> social interaction to leap over zopeds together. Isn't that what 

>>>>>>> a listserv is for? Or am I being too idealistic?

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> I have tried to speak in an open, easy, and immediate 

>>>>>>>>>>> manner,

>>>>>>> to

>>>>>>> allow others to engage. But I fear that engagement is never 

>>>>>>> going to happen because all that persists are conversations 

>>>>>>> about definitions, or whether nothing can come from nothing, and 

>>>>>>> voila! subsequent debates ensue.

>>>>>>> Or

>>>>>>> someone will say, "We already discussed this 20 years ago!" 

>>>>>>> Which means I missed the party, I suppose. Unfortunately, if I 

>>>>>>> disagree with a position because I interpret differently, then 

>>>>>>> I'm told to go read something without really a clear explanation 

>>>>>>> why I'm supposed to go read something.

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> I don't really agree with the approach of "read this," as an

>>>>>>> academic

>>>>>>> argument. Anyone is free to use it, and I have myself, but 

>>>>>>> because I know how obtuse that can be, I couch it with my 

>>>>>>> reasons why I think it would be a good read for that person, and 

>>>>>>> what I think there is learn from reading.

>>>>>>> I think the "read this" approach, when it is offered with the 

>>>>>>> tone of "now go eat your vegetables!" fails in the making of 

>>>>>>> speech between people.

>>>>>>> All

>>>>>>> it does is shut things down.

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> If the reading truly is relevant, it seems far more 

>>>>>>>>>>> productive

>>>>>>> in

>>>>>>> the

>>>>>>> moment of speech to cue a person what to look for, to supply a 

>>>>>>> context, especially when referencing an entire book, for 

>>>>>>> example, or the link to an entire website full of texts.

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> Your assessment in the physicality of language is something

>>>>>>> with

>>>>>>> which I am completely in agreement. Especially since we all seem 

>>>>>>> to agree with the material aspects of language. So the question 

>>>>>>> at hand is a matter of form. Form has an aesthetic but also has 

>>>>>>> a purpose. Are we throwing ropes or throwing boulders? If 

>>>>>>> throwing boulders, where does that need to throw boulders come 

>>>>>>> from? If throwing ropes, then at least connections are being 

>>>>>>> made for those who might not be very clear about ideas and who 

>>>>>>> may require a helping hand.

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> Then there's the old, but handy, elliptical comment, 

>>>>>>>>>>> something

>>>>>>> like a

>>>>>>> boomerang... meant to be subtle or ironic at the expense of 

>>>>>>> someone who may not understand.

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> At this point, I'd to emphasize that being ignorant is not

>>>>>>> being

>>>>>>> stupid, but it seems someone who is ignorant is frequently 

>>>>>>> treated as stupid (um, on this list). This "phenomenon" has made 

>>>>>>> me reflect upon how little time is spent upon the nature of 

>>>>>>> ignorance in education and the dynamics of ignorance in 

>>>>>>> speaking. Every one of us is ignorant about most things in the 

>>>>>>> world. And yet being ignorant is seen as an embarrassment, a 

>>>>>>> deficiency, a lapse in character. I vehemently disagree with 

>>>>>>> this reception to ignorance. Even Einstein said something like, 

>>>>>>> "The more I know, the more I see how much I don't know." Such an 

>>>>>>> aggressive position toward ignorance is nothing but hurtful, 

>>>>>>> even arrogant. Arrogance is a blister, a defense mechanism from 

>>>>>>> previous hurt. A person who is honest about one's own ignorance 

>>>>>>> is a very strong person and is showing a willingness to learn 

>>>>>>> something. I think all teachers will agree that a person who 

>>>>>>> knows one doesn't know is an easier student to teach tha

>>>>>>>>> n

>>>>>>>>>>  one who doesn't know one doesn't know.

>>>>>>>>>>> Iconicity is something I can hang my hat on. I see it is

>>>>>>> related

>>>>>>> to

>>>>>>> pointing. What I like about pointing is that it is a gesture, 

>>>>>>> which implies movement, in the way the word is also movement. I 

>>>>>>> hope I have made sufficient personal connections to your 

>>>>>>> concepts without the heat.

>>>>>>> Thank

>>>>>>> you for offering them to me.

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> Kind regards,

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>>> Annalisa

>>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>> 

>>>>>>> 

>>>>>> 

>>>>>> 

>>>>>> --

>>>>>> Carol A  Macdonald Ph D (Edin)

>>>>>> Developmental psycholinguist

>>>>>> Academic, Researcher,  and Editor Honorary Research Fellow: 

>>>>>> Department of Linguistics, Unisa

>>>>> 

>>>>> 

>>>> 

>>>> 

>>> 

>>> 

>> 

> 

> 

 


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