Re: [xmca] Irv Sigel, R.I.P.

From: Jay Lemke <jaylemke who-is-at>
Date: Tue Oct 16 2007 - 18:06:51 PDT

Thanks for sending this sad news. I knew Irv fairly well during the
time when he was working at ETS and had close connections with people
in developmental pysch at the CUNY grad center.

He was a very engaged and supportive guy, a bit mischievous, too. He
really cared about the work he was doing, and about the kids who were
involved in it.


At 01:39 PM 10/15/2007, you wrote:

>I just learned of the death of Irv Sigel last February. I met him at the
>Vygotsky conference outside Moscow in 1994, and developed a very high regard
>for him.
>Irving E. Sigel, Psychologist and Expert on Childhood Learning
>Irving E. Sigel, a distinguished developmental psychologist, passed away on
>Sunday, Feb. 26, at the University Medical Center at Princeton. He was 84.
>His death was due to complications from heart disease.
>Sigel was an internationally known expert on children's cognitive
>development. Based on his theory of "psychological distancing," Sigel's
>research focused on the capacity of young children for representative or
>symbolic thought, as well as on the conditions under which that thought
>Sigel was a leader in demonstrating how theory and research on child
>development is relevant to the concerns of practicing educators and parents.
>"Irv Sigel was a pioneer. He saw earlier than most the importance of doing
>well-conceived applied research that would put to the test our knowledge of
>child development for helping children and parents," says Frances Degen
>Horowitz, president emerita of the Graduate Center at the City University of
>New York and past president of the Society for Research in Child
>Development. "As the founding editor of the 'Journal of Applied
>Developmental Psychology,' he moved our whole field to be serious about
>applied developmental research."
>Sigel also is the author of more than 100 scientific articles, chapters, and
>books. He was the editor of a series of books on child psychology and
>co-editor with K. Ann Renninger of Swarthmore College, of the volume, "Child
>Psychology in Practice," part of the forthcoming 6th edition of the
>"Handbook of Child Psychology."
>Sigel was on the faculties of Smith College, Michigan State University, and
>the State University of New York at Buffalo. He was director of research at
>the Merrill-Palmer Institute. He was a distinguished research scientist at
>the ETS in Princeton, NJ, from 1973 until his retirement in 1990. At ETS, he
>established a preschool for developing curricula and training teachers on
>the basis of distancing theory. In recent years, he focused on the
>implications of his theory for parent-child relationships, and was a
>frequent consultant to teaching centers and school districts.
>For his work on child development, he received many honors and awards, both
>nationally and internationally, including an honorary degree from his alma
>mater, Clark University, in Massachusetts. Sigel served as president of the
>Division of Developmental Psychology of the American Psychological
>Association and as president of the Jean Piaget Society, from which he
>received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. His doctorate was from the
>University of Chicago.
>He is survived by his wife of over 60 years, Roberta Schoenland Sigel; two
>sons, Kenneth George Sigel of Mystic, Conn., and Newton Thomas Sigel of
>Malibu, Calif., and four grandchildren.
>A private funeral was held on March 1. In lieu of flowers, memorial
>donations in Irving E. Sigel's name can be sent to the Rock Brook School;
>109 Orchard Road; Skillman, NJ, 08558 ( or the
>Children's Defense Fund; 25 E Street N.W.; Washington, DC, 20001
>xmca mailing list

Jay Lemke
University of Michigan
School of Education
610 East University
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Tel. 734-763-9276
Website. <>
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Received on Tue Oct 16 18:11 PDT 2007

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