[xmca] Topics for December

From: Lois Holzman (lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org)
Date: Wed Nov 23 2005 - 13:46:38 PST

Dear XMCA-ers,

I've been talking with Mike about what topic to invite you all to play with
for December. Mike suggested I ask you a great idea! So I'm pasting below
my messages to him about some ideas I had and ask you for some

What do you think?


First Message

I'd like folks to learn about some Vygotskian-influenced programs I
> collaborate with the All Stars' youth programs in the US and programs of
> an organization in the former Yugoslavia called Zdravo da Ste (Hi Neighbor).
> (They are connected through me.) I can tell you more if you like but here's
> my question. Although the founders and their colleagues speak about their
> work (in fact, I met the Zdravo da Ste folks at the Vygotsky-Piaget
> conference in Generva in the 90s) they do not write academically (again, the
> Yugos write but not in English). So the materials I have to present to XMCA
> are not academic but more popular and/or my writing on their work. On the
> one hand, I think this focus on practice might be refreshingly interesting
> and challenging for the list; on the other hand, people might feel they do
> not have enough "meat" to work with.
> Any thoughts?
> Oh, I also have videos...

Second Message

> Yes, it is all about the design of environments for development. What is
> interesting to grapple with, perhaps, is the concept of development that each
> organization works with and what the work looks like. I say this because each
> has, independently, developed practices that they call activity theory based
> or influenced but their understandings of activity theory are, excuse my
> language here, radically dialectical and goal-less. Each also links
> development with performance in everyday life. And, each is successful to the
> extent that they are by virtue of being part of larger community-building
> projects. For example, the former Yugoslavian organization works with
> thousands of refugees and displaced persons of all ages. The youth work is
> part of that. Ana is very familiar with the work by the way and her project
> shares some of the features.
> However, I guess you could be right in seeing this kind of topic as more a
> show and tell, which I too would love to see people taking on for a period of
> time. Maybe I should postpone this until I invite the specific people in
> Serbia, Bosnia and Macedonia to come on to the list and participate. And maybe
> I should ask the list if a show and tell is of any interest.
> On the other hand, I did think of suggesting people read an article of mine on
> performative psychology and education (it raises some of the same issues as
> the practical work above) but that seemed self-promoting! What do you think?
> My article is theoretical. Maybe pairing it with an article by my colleague
> Carrie Lobman from Rutgers on improvisation in early childhood (a qualitative
> study) would work.

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