[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Xmca-l] Re: Sad news-- Jerry Bruner has died



It's possible to interpret Professor Bruner's email as hubris on several
counts:

a) It assumes that he was the first to use this metaphor. It's not clear to
me that this is the case--a number of people used it and Peter Langford and
Renee van der Veer have included Vygotsky in this number, although I have
not seen evidence of this at all.

b) It assumes that it was a good label for the phenomenon he is describing.
This is not clear to me either, as it is a mechanical one, and suggests
that knowledge is something entirely external to the child or worse that
the child himself is the work in progress.

c) It suggests that Bruner is a prophet to whom accurate, correct,
influential "intuitions" come out of the blue, his hand made strong by the
hand of the Almighty. This slights a lot of the painstaking work that
Bruner did; like Mike he came out of a rigorously behaviorist training,
which like Mike he had to transcend rather than simply (like most of us)
disdain without first mastering (I remember an early work of Bruner's in
which he defined development as "the lengthening of the distance between
the stimulus and the response").

As I said, I don't interpret Professor Bruner's email in that way. Like
Rob, I found it helpful, but mostly because it emphasized the random,
aleatory, and not very well thought out quality of the metaphor.

I think where we really disagree is on the nature of that metaphor--I don't
agree at all that it has been a useful tool for thinking about learning,
much less about development, and it has been a very blunt instrument for
thinking about the zone of proximal development.

I made the point before that Vygotsky measures the ZPD in years, but nobody
else does. One important reason that nobody else does is that people have
assimilated the ZPD to scaffolding, which is manifestly (in Bruner, Woods
and Ross and also in Acts of Meaning) about an instantaneous assimilation
of a ready made solution.

Over the last few weeks I have been translating the lecture on the Crisis
at Three from Vygotsky's lectures on pedology. Now, if you read the
material in Volume Five of the English Collected Works of LSV, you will be
very disappointed. Vygotsky begins the lecture with the statement that he
is going to examine the crisis from three points of view: neoformation,
line of development, and zone of proximal development. Then he says that
before he does any of these things, he wants to examine a good deal of
factual material (this is a typical move for Vygotsky--he never wants to
impose his categories on the material and instead prefers to allow them to
emerge from it, having given us some advance word of what to expect). The
editors of the Collected Works claim that the "factual material" is taken
from Elsa Kohler (one of the great unsung heroes of child development and
also gay rights, who lived openly with her lover in Nazi occupied Vienna).
On the face of it, though, it's just the "Seven Stars"--a folk theory in
Russia which corresponds to our folk theory of "terrible twos" and
"threenagers". And then the material ends, without any further mention of
the neoformation, the line of development or the ZPD.

Without Galina Korotaeva, this would be the end of the story. But
Korotaeva's edition of the "Lektsii' po pedologii" has a lecture "The
Crisis at Three and the Crisis at Seven" which for all the world appears to
take up precisely where the material in the Collected Works left off
(Vygotsky begins by referring back to the "Seven Stars" and noting the
unkept promise!). In fact, this appearance is misleading: the lecture in
Korotaeva's edition dates from a year BEFORE the material in the CW. But it
seems very likely that Vygotsky gave this course ("Foundations of
Pedology") more than once in the last two years of his life, and so I think
we can nevertheless read this as an early version of the continuation of
the CW material. Here Vygotsky really does talk about the neoformation
("hypobulia"), discuss lines of development (tantrums where the child
appears to act contrary to his own wishes, refusing to do things he
actually wants to do, and insisting on doing things that he doesn't really
care about or even dislikes). Then LSV says:

Остается ответить на последний вопрос: что же делает это поведение ребенка
гипобулическим и выделяет от волевого поведения ребенка дошкольного
возраста? То противоречивое положение, которое сказывается в том, что
ребенок делает эти отношения другим мотивом своей деятельности, оторвано от
своих собственных желаний и фактически делает вопреки собственным желаниям.
Иначе говоря, получается парадоксальное явление, когда существенным
содержанием 3-летнего кризиса является дифференцировка воли от аффекта.

"What remains is to reply to the last question: What does this hypobulic
behavior of the child offer, and what does it prefigure for the volitional
behavior of the child in preschool age? The contradictory position that
affects the child offers this different relative motive for his own
behavior, divorced from his own inclinations and facutally acting contrary
to his inclinations. In a word, what transpires is a paradoxical phenomenon
where the essential content of the crisis at three consists in the
differentiation of will from affect."

What is the last question? I think it's the question he asks at the very
beginning of the material in the CW--what is the zone of proximal
development for the Crisis at Three? And here the answer is most clear:
it's the NEXT zone of development, that is, the actual zone of development
for the preschool years (ages 3-7), i.e. it's not and never has been
scaffolding.

David Kellogg
Macquarie University



On Sat, Jun 11, 2016 at 7:12 AM, Kindred, Jessica Dr. <jkindred@cnr.edu>
wrote:

> I am unclear about how the idea of hubris has come into this. Humility,
> okay. Metaphor, clearly. Temporary, yes, as in the literal meaning of
> scaffolding, so too its metaphorical extension. But enduring, clearly, too,
> as a tool for thinking about learning.
> ________________________________________
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu]
> on behalf of David Kellogg [dkellogg60@gmail.com]
> Sent: Thursday, June 9, 2016 6:08 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Sad news-- Jerry Bruner has died
>
> I think one of the few advantages of being dead is that a critical
> evaluation of one's work as a complete narrative product then becomes
> possible. This is why I think the idea of a memorial issue for Jerome
> Bruner makes such great critical sense (and it's also why a memorial issue
> for Ruqaiya Hasan, the anniversary of whose death is in two weeks time,
> makes sense). Bruner would have welcomed that, not in hubris but in
> humility.
>
> I have a rather different interpretation of the email that Rob Lake
> circulated: I thought it was a good example of Bruner's humility, not his
> hubris. "Scaffolding" was a highly influential metaphor--but I think that
> by saying that it was just a labeling intuition out of the blue Bruner was
> emphasizing that it was a metaphor. Metaphors are misleading: they tell us
> a good deal about the relationship between forces but they tell us fictions
> about the nature of the force itself. So for example the "scaffolding" that
> Bruner wanted to emphasize was temporary: it was something to be taken
> down. But in th einterpretation of "scaffolding" it has become hypostatized
> and a permanent fixture of interaction. Worse, it has become identified
> with the ZPD, which it resembles not at all.
>
> I would say the same thing about his ideas of narrative. Bruner was prone
> to wild enthusiasms, and his enthusiasm for narrative as the very source of
> self is one of these. Yes, I suppose the life of Bruner is now a narrative.
> But from his point of view ,the really interesting part is what happened
> before it became one.
>
> David Kellogg
> Macquarie University
>
> On Fri, Jun 10, 2016 at 1:53 AM, Bella Kotik-Friedgut <
> bella.kotik@gmail.com
> > wrote:
>
> > I am now in Portugal at EVC 4 Vygotsky conference. I shared with the
> > audience my memories of J.Bruner's visit to Moscow. It was more than
> > obituary: I wanted in a way celebrate his beautiful life full with
> > discoveries and a lot of personal light he transmitted to people on his
> > way. When Alexander Romanowich asked me to stay in Moskow ( I just
> defended
> > my theses ans had to go to Rostov university for my first job) he said "
> > you will not regret" I think I was blessed with this opportunity and
> > enjoyed to be his  guide and secretary for this week. Let his memory be
> > blessed.
> >
> >
> >
> > On Thursday, June 9, 2016, Lplarry <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Jessica,
> > > This testament to how you have been deeply moved by Robert’s question
> and
> > > Bruner’s answer gesturing to how the concept *scaffolding* was forming
> > *as*
> > > a labelling intuition opens up a field of *depth* inquiry asking where
> > > these intuitions *arise* or *awaken* from as they enter into history
> and
> > > culture.
> > > For example, is there a living *presence* that is at this moment moving
> > > through us within the *person* of Jerome Bruner? This is a notion of
> > > *person* that has a continuing *existence* tingbeyond Bruner’s physical
> > > death. This is also a labelling intuition.
> > > Could this living *presence* (imaged as person) be a source of
> > > *intuitions* that arise or awaken within our own sense of living
> > *presence*.
> > > Is this *presence* that generates *intuitions* located internally or is
> > > this presence located externally, or is there a location where
> intuitions
> > > arise or awaken in a third location that is permeable to both internal
> > and
> > > external presence?
> > >
> > > Others will  offer different images and words to locate where
> intuitions
> > > originate. Is the image of labelling intuitions as  *seeds* forming an
> > apt
> > > metaphor?
> > > The term *scaffolding* that is generating *deep* dialogue within our
> > > questions and answers within particular communities which some call
> > > *learning* communities.
> > >
> > > In this thread James Ma shared a link to his article that I have
> > > downloaded from academia.edu. in which he proposes a deep sense that
> > > *learning* generates what is *worthwhile* as advocated by the living
> > > presence of the Confucian Classics. In particular learning that is
> > > worthwhile develops “culture, conduct, conscientiousness, and good
> > faith”.
> > > The living presence of this ideal has *inspired* devotees and activists
> > > throughout history to pursue truth (about) *learning* which James says
> > > aligns with intellectualism.
> > > James describes intellectualism as being *for* the virtues and ideals
> > that
> > > guide human participation in civilization.
> > > I would add that this intellectual guidance often arises or awakens
> > > through intuitions in the form of *guises* (living presences) as
> persons.
> > >
> > > Jerome Bruner in his life and in his death continues to exist within
> this
> > > living presence *who* exemplifies learning and intellectualism that
> > guides
> > > our own learning and intellectual virtues and ideals.
> > > Bruner would label this a hypothesis.
> > > Larry
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > Sent from my Windows 10 phone
> > >
> > > From: Kindred, Jessica Dr.
> > > Sent: June 8, 2016 8:30 PM
> > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Sad news-- Jerry Bruner has died
> > >
> > > Robert, I have read this email exchange that you had with "jb" over and
> > > over and find myself so moved by the idea of scaffolding as "just one
> of
> > > those 'labeling intuitions' that came out of the blue". This very
> > phrasing
> > > and sense of how ideas emerge is so important as we think about
> thinking
> > > and culture and how they influence each other in such profound and
> > > spiralling ways. I love this and I thank you for sharing it. What a
> > > wonderful contribution to the biography of an idea that has so
> influenced
> > > us all. I recently read a 1981 paper that Bruner wrote about education
> in
> > > which he used the word mindfulness in such an in-passing way that I
> > almost
> > > wonder naively if his use of it as a labelling intuition then might
> help
> > to
> > > account for its huge status in the cultural landscape of education
> now...
> > > in any case, great thanks for sharing.
> > >
> > > And yes, Leif, it is wonderful to remember his keynote at Iscrat 98 in
> > > Arhus!
> > >
> > > Thanks to him and to all of you for sharing your actual minds toward
> > > possible worlds.
> > >
> > > Jessie Kindred
> > > ________________________________________
> > > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <javascript:;> [
> > > xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <javascript:;>] on behalf of Helena
> > > Worthen [helenaworthen@gmail.com <javascript:;>]
> > > Sent: Monday, June 6, 2016 6:23 PM
> > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Sad news-- Jerry Bruner has died
> > >
> > > Nice, Robert!!!
> > >
> > > Helena
> > >
> > > > On Jun 6, 2016, at 11:05 AM, Robert Lake <
> boblake@georgiasouthern.edu
> > > <javascript:;>> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > *Hi Everyone,**Below is a record of my email correspondence** wi**th
> > > Jerome
> > > > Bruner w*
> > > > *hile I **was writing **an introductory book for educators about
> > > Vygot**sky
> > > > and a second  email about the coining of the phrase "scaffolding" *
> > *It*
> > > > * starts from the bottom up.*
> > > > *Robert Lake*
> > > >
> > > > ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> > > > From: Jerome S Bruner <jsb3@nyu.edu <javascript:;>>
> > > > Date: Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 2:05 PM
> > > > Subject: Re: Sketch about how you were introduced to Vygotsky
> > > > To: Robert Lake <boblake@georgiasouthern.edu <javascript:;>>
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Just one of those "labelling inuitions" that came out of the blue!
> >  jb
> > > >
> > > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > > From: Robert Lake <boblake@georgiasouthern.edu <javascript:;>>
> > > > Date: Saturday, October 2, 2010 4:17 pm
> > > > Subject: Re: Sketch about how you were introduced to Vygotsky
> > > > To: jsb3@nyu.edu <javascript:;>
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >> Thank-you Dr. Bruner.
> > > >> It really does help.
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >> When did you first come up with the notion of scaffolding? Was it
> > > >> connected to an observation out of your own experience in research
> or
> > > >> a personal experience?
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >> Thanks again for responding. You made my day.
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >> Robert Lake
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >  Jerome S Bruner  10/02/10 4:04 PM >>>
> > > >> As I recall, my introduction to Vygotsky came when Eugenia Hanfmann
> > > >> was working on a translation of what was to be Vygotsky's first book
> > > >> in English, THOUGHT AND LANGUAGE, published in 1962 by MIT Press.
> > > >> You'll recall that I wrote an Introduction to that book.  I had
> > > >> earlier become acquainted with Vygotsky's work through Alexander
> > > >> Romanovich Luria who was the Professor of Psychology at  Moscow with
> > > >> whom I visited in Moscow on several occasions.  He was a great
> admirer
> > > >> of Vygotsky and his work and felt strongly that my own work on
> > > >> perception and cognition generally were very much in the Vygotskian
> > > >> mode.  For my part, I felt in those days that Vygotsky was an
> > > >> important corrective to the Piagetian culturally-blind approach to
> > > >> child development.  I think that it was that aspect of my own work
> > > >> that led to my being asked to write an introduction to the Vygotsky
> > > >> volume.
> > > >>
> > > >> Does that help?
> > > >>
> > > >> All best wishes.
> > > >>
> > > >>         Jerome Bruner
> > > >>
> > > >> ----- Original Message -----
> > > >> From: Robert Lake
> > > >> Date: Friday, October 1, 2010 2:40 pm
> > > >> Subject: Sketch about how you were introduced to Vygotsky
> > > >> To: jerome.bruner@nyu.edu <javascript:;>
> > > >> Cc: carol.feldman@nyu.edu <javascript:;>
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >>> Dear Dr. Bruner,
> > > >>> I  am now beginning chapter one of a primer on Vygotsky and
> > > >>> education. Actually I already signed a book contract. One of the
> > > >> areas
> > > >>> I am covering is a brief introduction to some of LSV's academic
> > > >>> "family". I have sources for M. Cole, S. Scribner, A. Kozulin, L.
> > > >>> Holtzman, J.Wersch, E. Kravtsova, Y. Engstrom ,D.Robbins and L.
> > > >> Moll,
> > > >>> but  I am not able to find anything in the way of  historical
> > > >>> biography about your connection to his work. Is  there anything
> > > >>> written anywhere about how you were introduced to your Vygotsky?
> > > >>> If not, may I call you and ask a few questions?
> > > >>>
> > > >>> Thank-you for all you have imparted to our generation.
> > > >>
> > > >
> > > > On Mon, Jun 6, 2016 at 10:26 AM, Helena Worthen <
> > helenaworthen@gmail.com
> > > <javascript:;>>
> > > > wrote:
> > > >
> > > >> Andy, thank you for finding this!!!
> > > >>
> > > >> Helena
> > > >>
> > > >>> On Jun 5, 2016, at 8:56 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
> > > <javascript:;>> wrote:
> > > >>>
> > > >>> https://vimeo.com/groups/chat/videos/56737069
> > > >>>
> > > >>> ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > >>> Andy Blunden
> > > >>> http://home.mira.net/~andy
> > > >>>
> > http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making
> > > >>> On 6/06/2016 10:38 AM, David H Kirshner wrote:
> > > >>>> My condolences, Mike.
> > > >>>> A huge loss to all of us.
> > > >>>> Perhaps sometime you can share with us some of your personal
> > > >> experiences with him.
> > > >>>> David
> > > >>>>
> > > >>>> -----Original Message-----
> > > >>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <javascript:;> [mailto:
> > > >> xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <javascript:;>] On Behalf Of mike
> > cole
> > > >>>> Sent: Sunday, June 05, 2016 6:37 PM
> > > >>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > >>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Sad news-- Jerry Bruner has died
> > > >>>>
> > > >>>> ​At the age of 100 it cannot be unexpected, but  I have just heard
> > > from
> > > >> a colleague that Jerry Bruner​ has died.
> > > >>>> Its difficult to lose a colleague and friend who had a fundamental
> > > >> influence on my own life trajectory.
> > > >>>> mike
> > > >>>>
> > > >>>
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > --
> > > > Robert Lake  Ed.D.
> > > > Associate Professor
> > > > Social Foundations of Education
> > > > Dept. of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading
> > > > Georgia Southern University
> > > > P. O. Box 8144, Statesboro, GA  30460
> > > > Secretary/Treasurer-AERA- Paulo Freire Special Interest Group
> > > > Webpage: https://georgiasouthern.academia.edu/RobertLake*Democracy
> > must
> > > be
> > > > born anew in every generation, and education is its midwife.* John
> > > > Dewey-*Democracy
> > > > and Education*,1916, p. 139
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> > --
> > Sincerely yours Bella Kotik-Friedgut
> >
>
>