Re: [xmca] Engeström's theory of expansive learning, views appreciated!

From: Lisa Kuh <lpk2 who-is-at>
Date: Mon Jan 21 2008 - 11:51:44 PST


While I am still puzzling out your question, one piece stood out for me with
regard to my current work.It does not address your Engestrom query but made
me think about an aspect of your question.

You say,

"In my research, I have found that 'experiencing the future' can also be a
natural way of mentally steering away from current tensions, triggered by
great disparities between the rhetorical and the real, and verbalised
informally or in the research context."

Etienne Wenger* talks about the mechanisms or modes of belonging which light
on the micro-workings of a community of practice. He describes three modes
of belonging: 1)engagement in the community of practice - involvment in
negotiating meaning, 2)opportunities for imagination - creating images of
the world via our own experiences, and 3) alignment - coordinating energy
and activites with broader structures.

It is the idea of imagination that resonates with your observation about
"experiencing the future". For example, I see in analyzing teacher
engagement in their communities of practice, that when teachers collaborate,
how they imagine possiblities for the future of their group and their work
seems key to the growth and sustainability of the groups. Wenger sees this
idea of "imagination" as a process of group expansion by transcending time
and space as well as creating new images of the world (Wenger, 1998.). This
term is meant to stress the creative process and production of new images
and relationships, not a withdrawal from reality. In the context of a
community of practice, and from a sociocultural perspective, how group
members respond in the group can impact the shared reality created by the
mutual engagement. Of course,as you point out, and Wenger addresses this as
well, this imagining of possiblities does not always result in positive
growth and depending upon the particpants' ability to act.

*Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and
identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lisa P. Kuh, M.Ed.
Head Teacher, Eliot-Pearson Children's School
Tufts University
PhD Candidate, Teacher Education
University of Washington
146 Allston Street
Medford, MA 02155
206-406-0134 781-391-1533

----- Original Message -----
From: "dima dayoub" <>
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
Sent: Sunday, January 20, 2008 6:16 PM
Subject: [xmca] Engeström's theory of expansive learning, views appreciated!

Dear all,

I am a PhD student at the University of Manchester, currently writing up my
research. I am interested in exploring the adoption experiences of online
education in the Syrian Virtual University, a new initiative in the region.

I would appreciate any feedback on the following:

I am reflecting on whether Engeström's notion of 'experiencing' necessarily
implies intervention-mediation. I have read his 2007 article 'Enriching the
theory of expansive learning: lessons from ourneys towards coconfiguration'
and I have understood the occuring reflections in the variousorganisations
studied as an outcome of intervention sessions. In my research, I have found
that 'experiencing the future' can also be a natural way of mentally
steering away from current tensions, triggered by great disparities between
the rhetorical and the real, and verbalised informally or in the research
context. Such reflections were not necessarily followed by action,
particulary when the participants were not in a position to act, and
tensions took the shape of external influences.

Doesn't intervention relegate the role of the less powerfully-positioned
researchers? Does it not also define the participants as those who are
enabled to act, e.g. 'a head physician' or 'a manager'?

Any 'corrective' or other interpretations of Engeström, will be truly

Many thanks in anticipation
Dima> Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 09:26:57 +1100> To:> From:> Subject: RE: [xmca] Once Again, Learning and
Development!> > Helena,> Go to the context:>>
Marx deals with your question there, I think.> > Marx is a little ambiguous,
across his life, on what is included under > "production," but since we are
talking about whole social formations in > this instance, and taking into
account other claims in this same work, I > think we can say that he is
talking about economic production as distinct > from "superstructure".
Personally, however, I would say that for the > purposes of psychology, it
is questionable whether "production" can be > conceived in that limited way.
My point only was that this general approach > to complex human forms of
development, in the Hegelian/Marxist tradition, > has always had this idea
about a "leading activity."> > Andy> > At 10:26 AM 20/01/2008 -0600, you
wrote:> >Andy et al:> >> >What does Marx mean by "production"? What is
included? Can you give some > >examples of social formations and then
examples of "production" that are > >specific, of not unique, to each
formation?> >> >I'm reading John Berger, especially "The Production of the
World," his > >essay about Van Gogh, but Berger uses the phrase "production
of the world" > >in other essays, too.> >> >Helena> >>
>________________________________________> >From: [] On Behalf > >Of
Andy Blunden []> >Sent: Saturday, January 19, 2008 8:02 PM>
>To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity> >Subject: Re: [xmca] Once Again,
Learning and Development!> >> >There is in every social formation a
particular branch of production which> >determines the position and
importance of all the others, and the relations> >obtaining in this branch
accordingly determine the relations of all other> >branches as well. It is
as though light of a particular hue were cast upon> >everything, tingeing
all other colours and modifying their specific features.> >> >Marx,
<../../1859/critique-pol-economy/appx1.htm#p211>Preface to the> >Critique of
Political Economy (1859)> >> >> >> >At 08:16 AM 19/01/2008 -0800, you
wrote:> > >... Actually, I'm not sure if this way of understanding what
Vygotsky> > >meant by central functions and peripheral functions is right at
all. It's> > >okay for learning, but it does seem too microgenetic to
describe> > >development, doesn't it? Perhaps the BEST thing to do is to
take this back> > >to XMCA and see what others think!> > >> > > David
Kellogg> > > Seoul National University of Education> >>
>_______________________________________________> >xmca mailing list>
>xmca who-is-at> >>
>_______________________________________________> >xmca mailing list>
>xmca who-is-at> >> > Andy
Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435, > mobile 0409
358 651> > _______________________________________________> xmca mailing
list> xmca who-is-at>
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