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[Xmca-l] Re: Zuckerman's 2016 article and "what would aneducationbe?"


how accepted one view on Vygotsky is, is something many others in this list know better than me. When I began reading Vygotsky, many here had already bee studying his original works for 30 years...

I know, however, that it is easy to simplify matters one way or another. It is quite common, for example, to find published papers where Vygotskian concepts are used in ways that effectively reify cognitivist views that cognitive science itself has been trying to get rid off for long time now.

Perhaps the question is not so much about how accepted a version of a legacy is, and perhaps less so how accurate that version is with the original intention, but how generative this version is for whatever we find useful pursuing. A view where joint action leads to freedom in the generation of future joint action (the turtles all the way down), and not independently of it, seems to me more promising than other versions. Although many things in this article are surely debatable, it certainly offers an original and appealing view on what independence, or becoming and independent learner means. Vygotskian historians have noted that Vygotsky often referred to Bacon's aphorism "natura parendo vincitur"... In G.Zuckerman's article, mastering one's relation to others is achieved by becoming subject and subjecting to those relations.


From: lpscholar2@gmail.com <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
Sent: 02 December 2016 04:37
To: Alfredo Jornet Gil; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: RE: [Xmca-l] Zuckerman's 2016 article and "what would aneducationbe?"

How accepted is this perspective of the Vygotskian legacy as being (intermental) through and through?
The metaphor (turtles all the way down) comes to mind?

This perspective opens up the ideal or the possible of learning collaboration as involving a spectrum or a layering of developmental periods that emphasize a (merging quality) but emphasizes that all the periods continue to be alive and animated. This includes the original receptivity marking the infants gestures, and imitation, and play/imaginal and learning activity as all active  ingredients creating the personality.
To later become reflective and acquire some degree of volition over these earlier  more primordial deeper layers/spectrum of merged abilities as secondary phenomena of  learning collaboration seems to occur as a derivative experience (after the experience of merger).
Opens up the question of central lines for further inquiry in the back and forth.

This term (intermental) seems to be a key notion for opening locked doors

Sent from my Windows 10 phone

From: Alfredo Jornet Gil<mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
Sent: December 1, 2016 4:19 PM
To: lpscholar2@gmail.com<mailto:lpscholar2@gmail.com>; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity<mailto:xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
Subject: Re: [Xmca-l] Zuckerman's 2016 article and "what would aneducationbe?"

Larry, this way of articulating a Vygotskian approach to learning as NOT something that simply first is external and that then becomes internal, is one of the things that most attracted me from this paper. The competences and cognitive functions that Galina describes are intermental through and through, even when she talks of a "happy end" where the competence to initiate collaboration is interiorized​. This resonates quite well with an argument that Michael R. and myself have been advancing recently referring to the inter-intrasubjectivity (see e.g., MCA perezhivanie issue), although critical readers will note that we advance the argument in a way much more metaphorical than Galina's reported experiments (and being metaphorical is a fair critique, though being so may  also be a good way to move forward to new concrete research programs).

Another thing I like is that the article raises a question of distinguishing (or not) between relations of learner and a skilled person (may we say, an apprenticeship?) on the one hand, and between learner and *teacher* on the other. An advantage of this approach is that it allows tracing those genetic lines of development that are specific to teaching (teaching/learning) situations of the kind western schools and middle class parents sometimes exercise exhibiting and generating expectations of learning to think and solve problems independently.


From: lpscholar2@gmail.com <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
Sent: 01 December 2016 21:21
To: Alfredo Jornet Gil; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: RE: [Xmca-l] Zuckerman's 2016 article and "what would aneducationbe?"

Since you opened a new thread for the Zukerman article -in particular –
I will highlight  a central question from page 17 that is organizing the article for the reader’s ability to respond.

The last paragraph on page 17 opens with:

Just what is learning collaboration?

The answer given:

It can be (understood) in two ways. It can be seen as a sort of scaffolding temporarily needed for mental development – until children aquire the ability to apply scientific concepts INDEPENDENTLY, to frame and solve problems demanding theoretical thinking without the help of a teacher. However, learning collaboration can also be (interpreted) not as an ancillary developmental tool, not as an EXTERNAL removable support created in the course of building the mental ediface, but as an important part of this ediface, as  A VALUABLE ABILITY ESSENTIAL TO HUMANS AT ANY POINT IN THEIR ADULT LIFE.

It is this 2nd version of (learning collaboration) as a valuable (intermental ability) that continues and is universal, that this paper is highlighting for our further inquiry into

Just what is learning collaboration? As an aspect of answering,
Just what is education?
A four way back and forth co-generation of genetic phenomenology

Sent from my Windows 10 phone

From: lpscholar2@gmail.com<mailto:lpscholar2@gmail.com>
Sent: December 1, 2016 8:09 AM
To: Alfredo Jornet Gil<mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity<mailto:xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
Subject: RE: [Xmca-l] Zuckerman's 2016 article and "what would aneducationbe?"

A central notion of the article hinges on when a person shifts from educability (being the ready objects of education) TO the ability to learn (being able to exercise subjectivity/agency and becoming an active force in learning activity -becoming a subject of learning.

Now in order to pinpoint the birth of a subject (able to learn independently) this paper examines two possible relations of the concepts (interpsychic action) and (independent action) existing within the Vygotsky school:

1)      As long as an action remains (intermental) and is carried out with the help of an adult, it is NOT independent

2)      People can independently bring about  collaborative (intermental action) that they are NOT able to carry out individually.

A lot (hinges) on these two contrasting notions of being a subject of learning and carrying out something independently. Both versions exist within the Vygotsky school.
To put the (value) on the intermental is to also play with notions of intercorporeality and intersubjectivity.
As Zackerman says:
Children’s independence is usually understood as the ability to act without an adult’s help as the end of the (intériorisation) of an action.... When this occurs, their (intermental) interaction with the adult disappears, having served its purpose. This INTERPRETATION treats independent action as synonymous with (intramental) action.

This paper questions this sens of (independence) as a concept, goal, and purpose. The key question shifts to become:
What enables the emergence of a child’s ability to INDEPENDENTLY structure (intermental) action.

I will pause with this open question at the heart of the Vygotsky School exploration of developmental paths.
Where does (independence) exist? – intramental phenomena as interiorization or intermental phenomena as enlisting the collaboration of others.
Note that both alternatives  are offering the key to answering -what is education? May need a transversal back and forth to inquire deeper into this open question

Sent from my Windows 10 phone

From: lpscholar2@gmail.com<mailto:lpscholar2@gmail.com>
Sent: November 30, 2016 5:04 PM
To: Alfredo Jornet Gil<mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity<mailto:xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
Subject: RE: [Xmca-l] Zuckerman's 2016 article and "what would an educationbe?"

? WHAT is education.
This fourth paper contributing to our emerging answer in the flowing stream.

On page 9 see figure 1 on periodization of leading forms of (intermental) collaboration.
Notice that earlier forms are continuing as *enduring* forms of intermental collaboration.
Therefore the leading intermental collaboration of infancy continues to *endure*.
What is this enduring quality from infancy? The chart says:
The immediate-emotional communication between the child and a loving adult as a UNIVERSAL source of warmth, care, understanding, benevolence, protection, and the acceptance of the child’s unique existence as a thing of inherent value.

THIS universal intermental collaboration EXTENDS into the other 3 periodization’s. (early childhood, preschool childhood, and young school age).
So indicates the diagram of periodization on page 9.

This awareness may become lost or misplaced as we focus on the next period emerging which *merges* with this earliest intermental and *enduring* form of collaboration.

Sent from my Windows 10 phone

From: Alfredo Jornet Gil<mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
Sent: November 30, 2016 12:22 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity<mailto:xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
Subject: [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.


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