development: loss, destruction, transformation

From: David Preiss (
Date: Mon Mar 28 2005 - 13:42:05 PST

Hi Mike,
Your description of the breaking away tradition is, I think, what
explicit instruction should do in the schools. On the other hand, it is
a very nice proposal of how sociocultural learning can move development
forward (and not viceversa). Thanks for the clarification, David

David Preiss
Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile:
PACE Center at Yale University:
Phone: 56-2-3547174
Fax: 56-2-354-4844

-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Cole []
Sent: Friday, March 25, 2005 4:17 PM
To: Xmca
Subject: development: loss, destruction, transformation

Hmmm, David.

Your note concerning whether the transformation of prior knowledge
systems a la Piaget or Vygotsky as a "synonym" for "development as
breaking away" (Yrjo
title) or loss, or
destruction of the old seems to have fallen on still waters that
remained unmoved.

I think you have a point. Developmental change in these approaches ( I
am not sure I would include Siegler here, although I find his work very
interesting, except his difficulty in acknowledging the source of ideas
about the use of microgenetic methods) does entail transformation, as
when LSV talks about scientific concepts reorganizing everyday ones. But
I don't think that is what Yrjo and others have in mind. They are
talking about throwing out prior cultural constraints on development
which presumably means an markedly new process of development.

I would lean toward Peg's idea of mutual appropriation in which both the
sociocultural enviroment of the child and the child are co-participants
actively seeking to change the other to their own ends. This process can
lead to marked discontinuities on both sides and the system as a whole
through inter-laced processes of transformation.

Another point. Old "stages" do not go away. Scientific concepts do not
entirely reorganize everyday ones, egocentricism is a life-long issue,
etc. I have one paper written with Eugene Subbotsky in a Swiss journal
where I give an example of kids and undergrads playing a game where
several kinds of activity usually thought of as following each other in
ontogeny all organize the children's behavior/thinking at different
moments in a single event at different moments in unpredictable
sequence. Eugene's example is from his work on moral development.

We some advocate of the strong "breaking awayt" tradition to get into
the discussion so we can all be pushed in our views. mike

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