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[Xmca-l] Zuckerman's 2016 article and "what would an education be?"



Hi all,


I am responding to Larry's last post on the "social science is busted" thread, and in continuation with the discussions sparked by MCA's Issue 3 lead article.


?In those discussions, we have come to, as Larry puts it, a transversal reading of 3 articles:  Margaret and Carrie's on hollowed out science identities, Peter's on practical concepts, and Lave and McDermott's reading of Marx's estranged labor in terms of estranged learning.


A common thread tying the 3 articles together, as Larry identifies it, has to do with ?the question, *what is education?* Perhaps most importantly, ?the question is also about what education could instead be as possibility, as a *desirable* possibility. Obviously both questions are necessary: we need to have a notion of what goes on in schools now as much as we need a notion of what a good education could be.


Now, while reading 3 articles transversely already is a lot of reading for the regular mortal (though nothing uncommon for the scholar avis), I think we would gain a lot by adding Galina Zuckerman's recent article (recently mentioned by Mike) to the reading list. What this addition brings in is, in my view, what to me sounds like the initial step needed for connecting the two questions posed above, the one on the facts of education and the one on possibilities. Zuckerman does so connecting the latter question on possibilities to a scientific inquiry into what the ability to learn is. She writes:


"The question of what values to prioritize, particularly the question of which abilities should be developed in children of a given age, is not a question for science. Developmental psychology can tell us what abilities children are capable of developing at a particular age. Pedagogical psychology can instruct us in how to actualize a particular developmental potential: what educational and childrearing conditions are required for the achievement of potential developmental abilities to become the norm in childhood development"

Taking a route that goes across this intersection of the possible and the desirable, and reflecting on common reform efforts to foster students' self-regulation and their ability to learn, Galina asks: are *educability* and *the ability to learn* the same thing? For her, the difference lies in the following: to be easily educable students need to become objects of learning; to become able to learn, they need to become subjects.


I think Galina's article will proof relevant to many in this list for many reasons. One such reason is that she takes a thoroughly Vygotskian perspective on these matters, and I love that she never speaks of individual skills or knowledge but keeps talking of ability to engage and/or initiate interaction. Her approach is not only non-individualist, but also developmental: it takes into account many of the concerns on age that have been raised in recent xMCA discussions. And it even discusses the connection between communication and generalization, a connection that became relevant to this list few weeks ago, when David K. shared one of Vygotsky's last lectures (by the way, here Galina makes a case for the non-adequacy of distinguishing the two, communication and generalization, in terms of an external/internal dichotomy; she explicitly rejects the "internalisation" way of languaging it).


The article is attached and shared here as part of xmca's ?educational ?mission and is to be used for that purpose ?only.

Alfredo


Attachment: Zuckerma 2016 How do young schoolchildren learn to learn.pdf
Description: Zuckerma 2016 How do young schoolchildren learn to learn.pdf