RE: Arievitch discussion

From: Eugene Matusov (
Date: Mon Jun 28 2004 - 14:00:48 PDT

Dear Mike and everybody--

I referred to some research on mental abacus that was done in traditional
school context (which is very contrived as you know). If you know research
on mental abacus in other contexts, you are probably right about its
complexity (like Lave's research on math of shoppers).

However, I still do not understand why people got so fascinated with "mental
abacus"... To multiply 3456789462362455245245234523 by
6784848725245234534523452 without calculator or pen-and-paper is not more
complex (probably less complex -- that is why it is so difficult to do) than
to say something meaningful in a conversation with a friend(that is why it
is so useful). Any help?


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mike Cole []
> Sent: Monday, June 28, 2004 3:47 PM
> To:
> Subject: RE: Arievitch discussion
> I think it best for others to read and comment for now, Eugene, lest a
> very
> few voices hijack what is presumed to be a broader discussion (I am
> waiting
> to hear from more of the people who wanted to discuss!). My one commet
> would be that I fail to see the analogy between cooking based on socially
> constructed, in situ, verbally/behaviorally activity and learning to use
> an abacus. Probably my shortcoming. But I will let others whose cooking
> skills (and abacus skills!) are better than mine have the floor.
> mike

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