[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [xmca] Does "Obuchenie" Have Two Sides?

Yes indeed:

much to be said as well as much to be read.  Sometimes I go to the reading
and miss the opportunity to respond to a topic that leaves the xmca track
for a spot.  Many a time I leave a thread to read and reread the literature
only to be lost in other's thought without regard for my own initial
interest.  Translation is not what I do and that automatically leaves me
behind in the credibility game but surely I can still talk regarding
universal topics.

teaching/ learning certainly is a universal topic but the
words/symbols/artifacts used to discuss and converse about them are not
universal. What can we do? go for the 'concept'?  Many believe the
'concept' to be nothing but a holy grail, others write them as unicorns and
still others refuse it all.

Another dichotomy staring at me is the word/action dialogic of practice.
For years a debate has flowed pertaining to the word or action appearing
first on the scene; a chicken/egg story if you will.  In essence the word
does not happen without the action but isn't consciousness that moment
where you act upon your 'word of thought'?

certainly a bit off topic but when haven't I wandered the path less taken?

Mike, Jon; I look forward to the conversation


      To:	"eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
      Subject:    Re: [xmca] Does "Obuchenie" Have Two Sides?
mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>
Sent by: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu
11/17/2009 07:35 AM PST
Please respond to lchcmike          <font size=-1></font>


The essay was sent some time ago to XMCA and I think it really would be
helpful if you read before commenting on a  comment given all the
misunderstandings the topic invites. So, for any whose interests have been
stirred, the essay is attached. There is of course, a good deal more to be
said on the topic.

On Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 6:46 AM, Jonathan Tudge JRTUDGE

> Hi, David,
> I haven't read Mike's critique of the use of "teaching/learning" as a
> translation of obuchenie, which obviouisly makes it a little tricky to
> respond.  However, those like myself who have used teaching/learning as a
> reasonable translation would disagree with Mike's point (or your summary
> of it) "that "teaching/learning" is no more adequate than "learning" or
> "teaching" on its own."  In English these two words have quite different
> meanings, despite the fact that we may actually learn best in the course
> of teaching.  In Russian, however, the situation is more complex.
> Obuchenie is the noun associated with obuchit' (to teach or instruct) and
> with obuchit'cya (to learn).  Take away the prefix "ob" and you're left
> with uchit' (which can be translated both as to teach [the first meaning]
> and to learn or memorize) and uchit'cya (to learn or to study).
> In other words, unlike in English, obuchenie carries the meaning of both
> teaching and learning.  How can we best represent that?  I don't think
> that it helps to translate the same word, in the same context,
> consistently as "instruction" (as in the 1987 Plenum translation of
> Thinking and speech) and as "learning" (Mind in society).  Given the fact
> that the English language doesn't have a word that captures both teaching
> and learning how do we represent the concept?  At least in the places
> where I've written about this "teaching/learning" is clearly not intended
> to mean "teaching or learning"; as Scrimsher and I wrote: "By contrast,
> the meaning of 'teaching/learning' is subtly, but clearly, different from
> either of the words used alone" (Tudge & Scrimsher, 2003, p. 212).  At
> least from my reading of Vygotsky's ideas about zones of proximal
> development being created in the course of interaction, the combined
> of teaching and learning fits better than either word used alone.
> If the "/" has the inadvertent effect of signalling "either/or" (which
> thus should presumably be read as "either 'either' or 'or'") I'd be happy
> to use "teaching-learning" or some other way of signalling a multifaceted
> process for which English has no equivalent.  Use of "obuchenie" itself
> probably won't work, as too many people already think that it means
> "instruction" (a view that fits nicely with the teacher-dominated view of
> scaffolding that too often prevails).
> All the best,
> Jon
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Jonathan Tudge
> Professor
> 155 Stone
> Mailing address:
> 248 Stone Building
> Department of Human Development and Family Studies
> PO Box 26170
> The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
> Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
> phone (336) 256-0131
> fax   (336) 334-5076
> http://www.uncg.edu/hdf/facultystaff/Tudge/Tudge.html
> David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com>
> Sent by: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu
> 11/16/2009 06:35 PM
> Please respond to
> "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> To
> xmca <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> cc
> Subject
> [xmca] Does "Obuchenie" Have Two Sides?
> I just got my copy of MCA and read through Mike's editorial on
> (re)translating "Interaction Between 'Obuchenie' and Development" again.
> It seems to me that there are really three quite separate issues here:
> a) What does the word mean in Russian? Is "teaching/learning" or
> "instructed learning" an adequate translation?
> b) What did Vygotsky mean by the word when he used it in his earlier
> writings (e.g. Educational Psychology, and possibly as late as Chapter
> Five of Thinking and Speech)? For example, is "the social environment of
> learning" referred to in Educational Psychology related to "the social
> situation of development" referred to in Volume Five of the Collected
> Works (the unfinished manuscript "Child Development")?
> c) Did Vygotsky mean the same thing by the word when he used it in his
> later writings, specifically "Interaction" and Chapter Six of Thinking
> Speech? For example, is he serious when he suggests that complexes and
> complexive thinking should be "left at the schoolroom door"? If so, why
> does he refer to them as "preconcepts" and remark that a great deal of
> adult thinking is still on the complexive level?
> First of all, I agree with Mike that "teaching/learning" is no more
> adequate than "learning" or "teaching" on its own. Adorno remarks that
> "/" punctuation mark has its only real legitimate use in indicating a
> caesura in poetry. It also suggests "either/or" in English, and clearly
> "teaching" OR "learning" is not a possible translation. Worse, the idea
> "teaching/learning" as two sides of the same process suggests a metaphor
> with "borrow/lend" or "buy/sell" and this is quite explicitly ruled out
> Vygotsky's remarks on Tolstoy's pedagogical notebooks.
> So either the slash implies that they are somehow the same phenomenon
> viewed from two different angles or it tends to built a wall where we
> to build a bridge. A process is not like a bottle with an inside and an
> outside or a piece of paper with a recto and a verso. Even viewed
> temporally, it is not a machine with an input end and an output end. What
> goes for processes goes doubly for the relationship between two
> I suggest, as a provisional measure, we use a hyphen instead,
> "teaching-learning".
> Secondly, I think we have to accept that when Vygotsky uses a word it
> means what he's paying it to mean and not anything else. Vygotsky
> eviscerates all kinds of words ("pseudoconcept", "egocentric speech",
> etc.) and reanimates them with completely new content; he plays with the
> words of other people the way that a child plays with his blocks, and as
> result their meanings develop. So I doubt very much if either "learning"
> or "development" means what it means in the Large Psychological
> Mike refers to. To pick up David Kirshner's request for assistance on the
> "Renaissance Man", Vygotsky clearly rejects the Thorndikean view that
> development is developing the ability to do lots of separate little
> skills; Vygotsky's "Renaissance Man" is a relentless synthesizer.
> So it seems very likely that the "social environment of learning" is a
> literal, early, vulgar materialist interpretation of the "social
> of development" referring to the actual environment organized by the
> flesh-and-blood parent or teacher. The "social situation of development"
> is a rising to the concrete: instead of "classroom", "nursery", "home",
> have "situations" constructed by particular ways in which the child uses
> language: indicative, nominative, and only at the conceptual level truly
> signifying.
> Thirdly, I think that the English language needs yet another translation
> of "Thinking and Speech", and this one needs to be thoroughly annotated,
> in order to explain exactly how Chapter Five and Chapter Six fit together
> on the issue of learning and development. My own belief is that by the
> time Vygotsky wrote Chapter Six he was trying desperately to deal with
> very unfavorable Stakhanovite wind that had swept away the whole of the
> pedological career he had built up to 1931. Chapter Six, represents a
> great deal of trimming and tacking on his part. Alas, this includes some
> of his writing on the zone of proximal development, because the zone is
> presented as the answer to the evils of the pedologists who did not
> consider it when they allowed children to keep fiddling with syncretic
> thinking in preschools and playing around with complexes throughout
> elementary school.
> But when Vygotsky takes a step sideways, it is only in order to take a
> giant leap forward. The zone really is the hyphen in the middle of
> "teaching-learning", at least if we understand that hyphen as an arrow
> representing a meta-process and not as a single process, still less as a
> direct link. The zone of proximal development is to microgenesis and
> ontogenesis what "Origin of Species" is to ontogenesis and phylogenesis
> (or, perhaps more to the point, what Marx's "Capital" is to ontogenesis
> and sociocultural progress).
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
 - colemcaeditorial.pdf
xmca mailing list


Attachment: colemcaeditorial.pdf
Description: Adobe PDF document

xmca mailing list