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[Xmca-l] Re: Of Possible Interest to the XCMA/CHAT Family

Thanks Robert,
It’s great to have the book published as part of your series.  The book is
called “Learning that matters: Revitalising Heathcote’s Rolling Role for
the digital age”. 

For those who haven’t heard of Heathcote before, she was a ‘master’
teacher who achieved international recognition for her teaching practice
in the 70s and 80s - in particular for pioneering processes such as Mantle
of the Expert - which use role and fictional contexts to position children
as ‘experts’ and active agents in investigative processes. She also
invented this system called ‘Rolling Role’ which is a form of
trans-disciplinary learning - where multiple classes work with the same
common context, but from their particular frame or subject perspective.
The beauty of it is that no one group ‘owns’ the outcome, but groups
regularly ‘publish’ and share artefacts and outcomes throughout the
process, with each group having to use and ‘roll’ the work of what has
gone before.  It was a system she believed was perfectly suited for
revisiting in the digital age… so that is what the book hopes to assist
with… the Vygotskian and CHAT work was very helpful in conceptualising and
understanding this work.

At times reading the work of Vygotsky and Heathcote it felt like they
could have been writing about education today!

Educational experience, no less than theoretical research,
teaches us that, in practice, a straightforward learning of concepts always
proves impossible and educationally fruitless. Usually, any teacher
setting out
on this road achieves nothing except a meaningless acquisition of words,
verbalization in children, which is nothing more than simulation and
of corresponding concepts which, in reality, are concealing a vacuum.  In
such cases, the child assimilates not
concepts but words, and he fills his memory more than his thinking. As a
result, he ends up helpless in the face of any sensible attempt to apply
any of
this acquired knowledge. Essentially, this method of teaching/learning
concepts, a purely scholastic and verbal method of teaching, which is
by everybody and which advocates the replacement of acquisition of living
knowledge by the assimilation of dead and empty verbal schemes, represents
most basic failing in the field of education. (Vygotsky 1934/1994a, pp.

So – getting rid of the dummy run. On the face of it you
have a rather interesting paradox in drama, because it looks like drama is
entirely artificial and that the whole thing would be a dummy run – we are
pretending actually.  And we use words
like pretend and play and in our culture it does suggest that it’s
and there’s no real work/life purpose for it…. So it seems to me we need to
look and see what it is that makes something NOT feel like a dummy run…
It seemed to me that one of the important aspects of not
being a dummy run is that it matters now, we feel like its urgent now.
(Heathcote 1993, Tape 9)


Dr Susan Davis 
Senior Lecturer | School of Education & the Arts | Higher Education
CQUniversity Australia, Noosa Campus |
PO Box 1128, Qld 4566
P +61 (0)7 5440 7007 | X 547007 | M +61 400 000 000| E s.davis@cqu.edu.au

On 24/02/2016 12:14 am, "Robert Lake" <boblake@georgiasouthern.edu> wrote:

>​Susan Davis has published a book that weaves LSV, Dorothy Heathcote and
>into one seamless, present tense unfolding of "rolling role". If anyone
>would like to write a review of it I can get you a copy. It has been five
>years since Heathcote's passing and I suspect her work will become more
>more  important in this era of standardized everything.
>*Robert Lake*
>For a sense of the dynamic of  Dorothy's pedagogy, scroll to about 5
>minutes into this.

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