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[Xmca-l] microgenesis/ontogeny



Hi Larry-

I have not thought about Franklin in terms of style and gesture. I see what
you mean by
talking about his  style in the following paragraph:

**Franklin, is  described as displaying [and being] a particular *style*.
He is able to capably apply his talents at the art table and wood bench
where his style is the model of maturity. He performs his *self*-appointed
tasks with such meticulous care that others watch and *copy* his displays.
He displays intense concentration on *clearly defined* goals. And capably
entices other boys into *work* projects.*

I think it is the SELF appointed tasks that is key here and that the art
projects, as they are organized in that classroom. I would add superhero
fantasy play as another area  of artistic/play engagement to that list
because it is a group activity, but one in which his style, as you call it,
is consistant with local norms. But in the blocks, as both you and Paley
point out, the norms conflict with his style. And under normal
circumstances, he does not, himself, recognize that his behavior is
anti-social. He genuinely does not understand why kids flee him when he
bosses them around, unable to enter into his unarticulated/unarticulatable
notions of THE right way to build the structure.

He cannot remember any episodes where he drove kids away, even right after
the event.


**what Franklin needs is an *objective* view of the scene he has played in
the blocks corner. The morality story is too *abstract* and direct
criticism too personal. Storyplays come to Vivian’s mind.*


I am not sure of the meaning of objective here, but I am guessing that it
means embodiment of his behavior in the acted out scene. Assuming so, a
couple of comments.

Firstly, Paley routinely uses fables in her classroom and the children
appear to understand them judged by the interesting discussions that
follow. So they are not in general "too abstract for 4-5 year olds. And
secondly, storyplays are central to the entire curriculum, so she knows
that Franklin and the other children will appreciate the event.


*Storyplays begin with “once upon a time there was a boy named Franklin ….
Vivian *pretends* to be Franklin displaying his *style* [his way of
gesturing] Franklin, watching this unfold pounds his thigh and laughs,
announcing “That’s me! You’re pretending to be me. Is that really me?”*



​When I first read this chapter I held my breath as all the children,
recognizing that Paley is acting out Franklin, look at Franklin.
I was afraid he would be upset, but as you point out, he recognizes
perfection when he sees it!​


*This is the moment of awakening, to being a head taller.*

*The teacher’s *response*: “It really IS you. I watched you in the blocks,.
That’s the way you sounded. REMEMBER?”*



*Franklin’s *response*: “I do REMEMBER. You did that part just right.”
[with fidelity in Franklin’s eyes]*


I found it amazing that he not only recognized himself but appreciated how
well he was portrayed *acting in a manner that he could not remember *
when she asked him what had happened right after he drove the other boys
out of the activity.


​So, with respect to microgenesis/ontogenesis:

I interpret the change in Franklin's behavior, judged by his ability to
play Franklin being a good player in the blocks to involve a qualitative
change in behavior - a developmental shift "upwards." I also interpret this
event as an example of microgenesis.

Note, with respect to ontogenesis, that Franklin is not always​ the "good"
Franklin in the blocks. But the fact that he has been able to interact with
others in this way means that
​he has his own prior experience to draw upon as he learns (as incompletely
as the rest of us highly developed people) to see oneself as others see us.

I wonder what Paley would have to tell us, in more detail, about the
subsequent changes over the months of the school year. How does this
microgenetic developmental change itself change during Franklin's
ontogenesis?
mike​