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[Xmca-l] Re: "Mediation" as Error Correction

Hi David, 

this is a question that interests me a lot and which has been nagging me, specially when finding many instances in which researchers assert that a given action, a given tool, a given word has "mediated" whatever (teaching) situation. It seems to me that you point out the core of the problem: the notion is taken out from the context of development. If I read correctly your description of mediation as "using one force of nature against another", mediation is a category that applies to developmental phenomena, to movement and not static (unreal, out of history) things. The problem very often is that we do forget to bring in movement (life!) to the teaching/learning events that we examine and discuss using the term mediation. The question "is there really mediation here" would then have to be preceded by the more primary question: "am I capturing a developmental phenomenon here?". Mediation then, rather than something that either happens or not happens in the situation, could be a means to remind ourselves that, if there is development, there must be at least two forces moving. Our analyses then should focus on identifying how those forces are united and how they inter-dependently change. I have not studied dynamic assessment, but I thought this general remark, which points out the need of including change and development within our unit of analysis, might be relevant to the conversation.

From: xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
Sent: 10 February 2016 22:38
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l]  "Mediation" as Error Correction

I am occasionally, out of deference to a few papers I once published in
TESOL, sent articles to review on the use of Vygotskyan concepts in
language learning. Time was that these articles were mostly about
scaffolding and the ZPD; of late they have been mostly concerned with
"internalization" and "mediation".

The problem is that most of these articles have taken these concepts
entirely out of child development and placed them in an alien
context--classroom error correction, which is now referred to as "Dynamic

I am not sure what to do about this. It seems to me that one way to start
to address the issue is to go back to the original Hegelian idea of
"mediation" as using one force of nature against another: the force of air
pressure against gravity in flying, or the friction of snow vs. the
momentum of the fall line in skiing.

When a teacher corrects an error in a classroom, e.g. when a teacher makes
the student say "This is a book" instead of "This is book", what are the
forces of nature that are being used against each other? Is this really an
instance of mediation at all?

David Kellogg
Macquarie University