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[Xmca-l] Re: Maths and science in Russia

On 21 December 2014 at 22:50, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> Let me float a hypothesis, and see what Huw and Ulvi make of it. A learning
> activity (any learning activity) is best described not as a synoptic
> hierarchy of molar units like operation, action and activity. Viewed
> diachronically, from the point of view of psychology, a learning activity
> is a non-hierarchical historical sequence, such that any given
> "method" eventually, in time, turns out to fetter progress and must be
> discarded, and the end result is not an inter-mental social form of
> activity but instead an intramental psychological one.

A method remains and it entails more skilful work than conventional
instruction.  However, one could argue that standard instructional
approaches are actually more difficult from the perspective of facilitating
independent thought and practice (the purpose of L.A. based instruction) on
the part of the student, because they fail to achieve this in any
supportive manner.  Learning activity is simply what it is called in this
area of research.

I think David is going into lots of interesting subtleties, but I fear some
folk are reading this with an administrative mindset rather than a research
mindset.  From an administrative perspective "successful" is treated as a
very clear and simple thing.  From a research perspective into
psychological development, it is a nonsense term and entirely problematic.

Given the difficulties of relating "successful" to genuine developments in
students learning, I see no answer to the desire for a general answer.  I
think the question is wrong -- no-one who actually wants an intelligent,
thought provoking answer should go round expecting (or, worse, demanding)
"general" or simple answers to simplified questions.  On such issues we may
neatly separate researchers from administrators.