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[Xmca-l] Re: Zuckerman's 2016 article and "what would an education be?"
(The bibliography for this article by Zuckerman that was posted and a
continuation of it is also available in the same Journal, same volume, same
number -- just two different article titles and page numbers!)
[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Alfredo Jornet Gil
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 3:19 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Zuckerman's 2016 article and "what would an education be?"
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
?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
"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
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.