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[Xmca-l] Re: Zuckerman's 2016 article and "whatwouldaneducationbe?"

Here is the quote from Stephen H Watson, in his book Tradition(s) Refiguring Community and Virtue in Classical German Thought.

Thus we can see how closely the problem of interpretation accompanies the question of traditionality (as such). We stand then not only, to use Ardent’s terms, between past and future, but equally, again to use Foucault’s terms, (between tradition and oblivion), divided between remembrance and anticipation, coherence and critique, the canons of tradition and the demands for creative invention and current relevance.

This may be going off track from the Zuckerman article, so i will pause and turn back to the Vygotsky School and its tradition(s)  exploring the intermental being worked out by Margaret and Carrie.

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From: White, Phillip
Sent: December 3, 2016 8:56 PM
To: lpscholar2@gmail.com; Alfredo Jornet Gil; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [Xmca-l] Re: Zuckerman's 2016 article and "whatwouldaneducationbe?"

Larry, i have no idea what Foucault means here in the reference you came across.

my regrets,


From: lpscholar2@gmail.com <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
Sent: Saturday, December 3, 2016 1:23:03 PM
To: White, Phillip; Alfredo Jornet Gil; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: RE: [Xmca-l] Re: Zuckerman's 2016 article and "what wouldaneducationbe?" 
I recently came across a reference to  Foucault saying that the relational movement back and forth  occurs between (tradition and oblivion). With Mike’s reference to Benjamin’s angel looking back at history   and being blown toward what can feel like oblivion, there is still the image of the angel between.  This movement/transition seems to express powerful currents in which the angel seems transfixed. 
Is Foucault saying the answer lies in moving between tradition and oblivion and not becoming transfixed  in either polarity?
Each in the other?
Resuming the Zuckerman focus on (able to learn through learning collaboration).
She is positing the virtue of a teacher whose relation to a learner is to (hold back)  the learner from moving to an end product and refocus on orientating to (the means) necessary for boundary crossing.
The means are intermental. (mitsein).

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From: White, Phillip
Sent: December 3, 2016 9:08 AM
To: lpscholar2@gmail.com; Alfredo Jornet Gil; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [Xmca-l] Re: Zuckerman's 2016 article and "what wouldaneducationbe?"

dear all  -  it was not my intention to suggest that the model for teaching is in itself neoliberal, but rather the author's stated goal for my these teaching strategies are necessary.

check out Foucault's "Discipline and Punish", particularly the section on disciplined bodies.  

but no, this model is not inherently so.  

like all tools, it can be used for different goals.  a hammer can be used to construct the frame of a house, or commit murder.


From: lpscholar2@gmail.com <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
Sent: Saturday, December 3, 2016 7:09:06 AM
To: Alfredo Jornet Gil; White, Phillip; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: RE: [Xmca-l] Re: Zuckerman's 2016 article and "what would aneducationbe?" 
Phillip, Alfredo, and others focused on Zuckerman’s article which orients and moves us to transition to the concept of intermental learning collaboration all the way down.
Is her model (inherently) neoliberal or is her model being *put* in the service of the neoliberal?
The model she presents  of layers and merging of layers that may be put in the service of more dialogical intermental education as learning collaboration.

A key term is *able to learn* and on page 23 & 24 she unpacks what this means: In her words – when learning goes beyond *infecting* someone an ability the way that toddlers learn to talk, dress, and play. (LP -layer 2 the imitative)

Here is Zuckerman’s explication of going beyond layer 2 as merger or fusion with layer 4 that is developing:

• Teachers  are also needed by learners so that, on  the boundary between learning and doing, between orientation and doing, learners can be (held back) in a state of orientation and not allowed to pursue a result (LP – end) without paying attention to the way that result is being (attained). Teachers have only one demand: For children to clarify in their own minds whether or not they have assimilated the (means) of action or need to continue their learning. In other words the focus of joint learner-teacher action (LP -intermental) is the boundary of the learner’s competence and the means for *crossing* that boundary (LP – together). Learning to go beyond the boundary of one’s own capabilities, beyond the boundary of a particular situation – THAT IS the meaning of being *able to learn*

This model of being able to learn may be put in the service of neoliberalism. However is that inherently so?

My turn is up. 

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From: Alfredo Jornet Gil
Sent: December 2, 2016 3:40 PM
To: White, Phillip; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Zuckerman's 2016 article and "what would aneducationbe?"

Phillip, interesting thoughts. ​Made me think of my ongoing experience at an elementary school (below).

I also felt uneasy in the way Zukerman phrased some aspects of teaching/learning, and most of all, I did not understand why she talked about students learning, but not about teachers learning: teachers do also learn and develop (change!) in and through teaching/learning situations (and become better or worse teachers). But there is something concerning "compliance" that I do not get from your argument. You say that in Galina's examples, "children are expected to demonstrate learning behaviours that the teacher deems appropriate"  ... and then I wonder, is not this inherent to any educational situation? This is certainly what happens in many homes, including my own. Indeed, deeming something appropriate seems to be necessary to be able to decide what kind of education we want, right? Or should we deem as inappropriate that people expect other people to do what they feel/believe is appropriate?

But yes, another question is, what type of relations do we want to engage into, what culture do we want?. After all, if the model is science (which in Zukerman's case, who follows Davydov, seems to be), is not science the product of the same (increasingly globalised) history from which neoliberalism, comunism or putinism also are products?

I am everyday working as an assistant in an arts-based elementary school here in Canada and I witness and participate in enforcing practicesm that have very little to do with the progressist ideas explicitly endorsed by the school. Even though I do not want to part-take in them, it really takes a lot of work to break free from the inertia of the tasks, which are (unawarely) designed so as to require enforcement. It is a very visceral situation, being there with kids I love, and yet finding myself doing precisely what I do not want to do. I am caught in the situation. What do I need to do to break from it? I think first is the work of becoming aware not only of the fact, but the conditions that sustain the fact: the task. Next, I guess I have to realise that changing myself as an educator requires changing the tasks. We are currently working on a reflective process in which I hope to bring awareness and change to the whole staff. Does this process resemble science?


From: White, Phillip <Phillip.White@ucdenver.edu>
Sent: 03 December 2016 00:00
To: Alfredo Jornet Gil; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [Xmca-l] Re: Zuckerman's 2016 article and "what would aneducationbe?"

everyone  -  having read Zukerman's paper on how young school children learn to learn, it seems to me that the teaching strategies she promotes will not come close to alleviating the problem of neoliberalism and the hollowing out of students.  as stated on page 2, "... schoolchildren must to able to compute, read, write, and, by the way, learn.  This occurred in the late 1970's in the face of one in a series of technological revolutions confronting manufacturers with a new need for lifelong training."

so there is the core proleptic goal of neoliberal education - students are to be educated to meet the needs of business.

in my own experience of teaching - from kindergarten to graduate school - the child who is described as an independent learner is actually a compliant child.  and certainly in Zukerman's examples, these children are also learning to be compliant - they are expected to demonstrate learning behaviours that the teacher deems appropriate for the classroom.

in point of fact, the last elementary school i was in for fifteen years - 2001 - 2016 - the type of teaching and questioning strategies promoted by Zukerman were practiced in every classroom.  and teachers were explicitly evaluated on how close them came to a rather common mantra: Never do for a child that she can do herself.  and, yes, all answers elicited through open questions were written so that all could see, and then analysed and evaluated by the students.

as Smagorinsky pointed out in his paper regarding development of learning and social practices, at core there is always an ideology.

here in the states it is neoliberal capitalism.

in russia it was communism, and now Putinism.

both carry a high value of conformity, nationalism, and compliance to authority.


From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of lpscholar2@gmail.com <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, December 2, 2016 8:26 AM
To: Alfredo Jornet Gil; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Zuckerman's 2016 article and "what would aneducationbe?"

The resonance of your answer is harmonic with my question and feels so gestating and co-generative. Learning collaboration as joint action leading [orienting receptively] to freedom in the opening of future joint action [all the way down].
Mastering one’s *relations* TO OTHERS is achieved [an ability Zukerman would say]  by becoming subject AND SUBJECTING TO those relations.
At the heart of our inquiries is *relations* in their polyphonic manifestations.

What has just occurred here and now as an example [an exemplar?] of being carried along by the *subject matter* developing what *we* mean.

Con/vivial  -  con/verse/ation   - all the way down.

MITSEIN as well-being-in-the-world- WITH- others [abbreviated or shortened to *well-being*

An original and very appealing view/image on WHAT independence, or
BECOMING an independent learner - means

I feel heard and inspired and grateful in this spirit [value?] of friendship and fellowship unfolding in the back and forth across perspectives
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From: Alfredo Jornet Gil
Sent: December 1, 2016 9:40 PM
To: lpscholar2@gmail.com; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [Xmca-l] 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

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From: Alfredo Jornet Gil
Sent: December 1, 2016 4:19 PM
To: lpscholar2@gmail.com; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
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

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From: lpscholar2@gmail.com
Sent: December 1, 2016 8:09 AM
To: Alfredo Jornet Gil; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
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

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From: lpscholar2@gmail.com
Sent: November 30, 2016 5:04 PM
To: Alfredo Jornet Gil; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
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.

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From: Alfredo Jornet Gil
Sent: November 30, 2016 12:22 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
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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