Re: [xmca] Social situation, zpd and Franklin

From: David H Kirshner (
Date: Mon Jun 05 2006 - 14:32:24 PDT

Thanks for your question, Nancy.

The crossdisciplinary approach is designed to articulate what I call the
"learning pedagogies"--pedagogical methods intended to support individual's
acquisition of skills, concepts, or dispositions as outcomes of learning in
its varied metaphorical senses (learning as habituation, construction, and
enculturation). But I think it is relatively straightforward to broaden the
approach to incorporate what I collectively call the "critical pedagogies"
aimed at transformation of the broader society. For critical pedagogies
tend to rely on the enculturationist/acculturationist teaching methods
already articulated as learning pedagogies.

The critical pedagogies seem to me to be of two varieties, utopian
pedagogies and resistance pedagogies, closely aligned with what I call
enculturationist teaching and acculturationist teaching, respectively.
Utopian pedagogies (e.g., democratic education) seek to create a utopian
classroom microculture with a view to inculcating dispositional traits
(e.g., a sense of participatory entitlement) that will push students to
demand changes in society that are considered (by the instructor) as
improvements. This is an enculturational pedagogy in that the instructor
works through the classroom microculture as a surrogate for an external
reference culture. Pedagogies of resistance seek to create affiliation for
students with authentic subcultures of resistance in the broader society.
As with all acculturationist pedagogies, resistance pedagogies necessarily
involve negotiation of identity.

Nancy, I hope this gives an indication that the pedagogical interests you
mentioned in your note can be informed by crossdisciplinary studies. But I
would be remiss not to acknowledge that the politics of crossdisciplinarity
(if it were to catch on) would likely work against the interests of
critical pedagogy. The progressive movement in education generally has been
supported by an integrative pedagogical discourse in which goals of
learning are taken as a whole, and "good teaching" has been conceived as a
wide umbrella. It is within this general discursive approach that critical
pedagogical aims have been able to be incorporated, at least in a limited
way, within a broader frame that includes more politically acceptable
learning goals. Enculturational learning has always been a hard sell to
educational conservatives, despite the fact that reference cultures of
interest include disciplinary cultures (e.g., mathematical culture,
scientific culture, historiographical culture, etc.) that are highly valued
in mainstream society. By providing for the explicit identification of
enculturational reference cultures and the targeted dispositions within,
crossdisciplinarity may make enculturation a more acceptable teaching
methodology, but at the cost of screening out what might be seen as
subversive (i.e., progressive) educational intentions.


                      "Ares, Nancy"
                      <nancy.ares who-is-at roche To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
            > <>
                      Sent by: cc: (bcc: David H Kirshner/dkirsh/LSU)
                      xmca-bounces who-is-at webe Subject: Re: [xmca] Social situation, zpd and Franklin
                      06/05/2006 01:23
                      Please respond to
                      "eXtended Mind,

I wonder what would transform or be modified in the cross-disciplinary
perspective if it was broadened to include such things as critical theory,
critical race theory, resistance theory, culturally relevant pedagogy,
feminist theory, black feminist theory, chicana feminist theory, cultural
studies, etc. from cultural or social foundations? It strikes me that the
cross-disciplinary perspective, as portrayed, doesn't leave much room (at
least explicitly) for agency for the novice/student/child. Enculturation
implies assimilation into, but maybe there is room for appropriation that I
am not seeing? I also think it would be interesting to see how this
perspective might attend to variation in cultural practices of those
involved in the teaching/learning relationships, and to differential power
relations that don't have to do with age or expertise as defined narrowly
the task at hand.


On 6/5/06 12:23 PM, "David H Kirshner" <> wrote:

> Andy, thanks for your question.
> I'm going to build, here, on my earlier long response (sorry) to Mike's
> questions. From a crossdisciplinary perspective, I don't take
> to be "essential to the learning relationship" nor anything else. That's
> because what is conceived of as a productive learning relationship is
> indexed to the particular metaphorical notion of learning one is
> in supporting. For what I call "acculturationist teaching" in which the
> teacher serves as a representative of a culture which the student is
> encouraged to enter, I would agree that collaboration is close to the
> of what one attempts to establish. The same may be true of
> "enculturationist teaching" in which the teacher seeks (surreptitiously)
> nurture certain participation features within the classroom
> microculture--the focus being on some kind of mutuality of purpose with
> respect to increasingly central participation within the surrogate
> of the classroom. But in a "psychological constructivist pedagogy" aimed
> supporting students' understanding of problematic conceptual content the
> source of learning is not the relationship with the teacher, but
> in the task environment established by the teacher responsive to her or
> interpretation of the limitations of students' current understandings.
> student has to trust the teacher enough to engage fully in the task
> presented by the teacher, but this is not a "collaboration" precisely
> because there is not mutuality of purpose. The teacher develops the task
> without co-participation or negotiation with the student. The student
> thrashes around within the microworld created by the task, a microworld
> that necessarily excludes the teacher.
> David
> PS. I've heard Eugene is planning to charge royalties on use of his
> trademark sign-off, "What do you think?"
> Andy Blunden
> < To:
> t> cc: (bcc: David H
> Kirshner/dkirsh/LSU)
> Sent by: Subject: Re: [xmca]
> situation, zpd and Franklin
> xmca-bounces who-is-at webe
> 06/04/2006 10:27
> PM
> Please respond to
> "eXtended Mind,
> Culture,
> Activity"
>> David,
>> It seems to me that the essential meaning of collaboration is precisely
>> that the different subjects both pursue a common aim. I think that this
>> conception includes the possibility of a subject offering solidarity to
>> another so that their collaboration takes the form of lending support to
>> project created by the other subject. But the essence of the matter is
>> that both pursue the same aim and work together for that end.
>> That one subject (the 'teacher') has to determine what the other
>> (the learner's) aim *should be* is clearly a best available alternative
>> the coincidence of projects which have independently presented
>> from both subjects' lives. Life is such that a hell of a lot of learning
>> takes place between teachers working for a wage and students suffering
>> compulsory education or seeking job-tickets, but I think LSV is right
>> start from what is essential to the learning relationship.
>> What do you think?
>> Andy
>> At 04:40 AM 4/06/2006 -0500, you wrote:
>> ...
>>> As I discuss in my 2002 paper, from a constructivist perspective
> supporting
>>> students' conceptual construction implies the need to "read" the
> students'
>>> current conceptual configuration and to develop tasks and engagements
> that
>>> are coordinated with the limitations of the current conceptual
>>> (as a way to promote transformation of those structures). But, despite
> his
>>> interest in fostering conceptual restructuring, Vygotsky wants to hang
>>> to a mode of collaboration in which coparticipation, itself, is
>>> sufficient--a mode of engagement characteristic of the enculturationist
>>> pedagogical approach (Kirshner, 2002). My argument in the 2002 paper is
>>> that principled pedagogical methods only can be articulated relative to
>>> single metaphorical interpretation of learning. As I see it, this is
>>> "Vygotsky does not seem to have any systematic principles, methods, or
>>> techniques that should guide how collaboration should be conducted by a
>>> person who is assessing a zone of proximal development" (Chaiklin,
> p.
>>> 54).
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> xmca mailing list
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Nancy Ares
Assistant Professor
Teaching & Curriculum
Warner Graduate School of Education
    and Human Development
University of Rochester
P.O. Box 270425
Rochester, NY 14627
Fax 585-473-7598

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