This message is from Elina who can't go on xmca... (Bruce, please, help
Elina - you are our xmca guardian-angel...)
From: Elina Lampert-Shepel [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2004 5:30 PM
To: Eugene Matusov
Subject: Trouble posting...
I seemed to have a problem with posting on xmca... Could you post
this one, if it did not get through? Maybe my message was caught
and destroyed in the line of cyberspace fire between Leontyev and
Vygotsky??? Just kidding...
Dear Eugene, Mike, Ana et al,
I was reading with great interest all the postings and was
thinking that not only Vygotsky-Leontiev's controversy is
presented, developed and embedded into practice differently in
different socio-cultural contexts, but even the way we discuss it
via xmca is shaping the meaning of the controversy. And I actually
enjoy greatly the multivoicedness of the conversation and the depth
of the questioning. I remember that some of the "Russian founding
fathers" , either Davydov or Repkin ( or all of them??), kept
reminding that CHAT is developing as a theory when there is a
community questioning the foundations of the theory.
The development of activity theory in the Former Soviet Union and
especially Learning Activity that quickly became a separate
theoretical province made a tremendous impact on the development of
Russian education. The longitude research in school-laboratories
and then practice of Learning activity ( Developmental Education)
in the large number of public schools gave a lot of food for
thought. For example, the unit of analysis suggested by Repkin was
ACT rather than action. It is close in meaning with the Wertsch's
unit of analysis, but with an ascended to concrete view of the
actions and their tranformations within an act. In other words, if
Leontiev distinguished actions and operations, Repkin, building on
that distinguished ACT and actions.
Those, who are interested to read more about it, check September-
October, 2003 issue on Learning Activity of Journal of Russian and
East European Psychology, Vol.41(5), published by M.E.Sharpe.
It seems to me that Vygotsky and Leont'ev would have different
answers to the question of unit of analysis of what is supposed to
be an object of study.
What do you think?
I have on my table a violin string. It is free. I twist one end of
it and it responds. It is free. But it is not free to do what a
violin string is supposed to do - to produce music. So I take it,
fix it in my violin and tighten it until it is taut. Only then it
is free to be a violin string.
Sir Rabindranath Tagore.
Instructional Coordinator, New Teacher Residency Program
Graduate School of Education
66 West 35th Street
New York, NY 10001
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