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Re: [xmca] Mead and Play


I did not know of any common source that both men drew from.  I consulted
with Suzanne Gaskins on your question too to see if there was anything I
was missing.  The paragraph below is her response.  Artin

I think they both started with the idea of the developing child as situated
in a socially organized world of shared meaning--which is not surprising
because everyone in the world except for middle-class European-Americans,
practically, would do that. I would say they differed in that in general
Vygotsky granted others a strong agentive role in the ZPD (except, notably,
for play) while Mead grated the child a more agentive role through
participation of activities NOT primarily geared toward learning or
socializing. So their overlap in play, which I think is accurate, should be
seen as somewhat accidental and not reflective of a completely shared
general perspective.

On Tue, November 17, 2009 9:39 am, Michael Glassman wrote:
> Here is something interesting I just found reading Mead that I'd like to
> ask the play people out there.  In his article "The Psychology of Social
> Consciousness Implied in Instrruction" published in Science in 1910 Mead
> seems to take a position on play that is very similar to Vygotsky in some
> ways (perhaps dissimilar in others).  He argues that play - what I suppose
> after Piaget will come to be understood as pretense - has a very specific
> role in society.  Engaging in play prepares the younger members of society
> to practices the roles of what it means to be an adult in a position of
> relative safety (his larger argument is that this is where direct
> instruction fails - it does not prepare children to take their place in
> society, only to answer questions to which direct instruction speaks).
> This reminded me very much of what I remember reading from Vygotsky on
> this subject.  The one place where they seem to be different is that while
> Vygotsky seems to see the move from play to adult thinking as being more
> developmental, Mead seems to see it as more sequential (or at least from
> his Pragmatic background he is not willing to posit a developmental arc
> for human behavior).  Going back and reading the passage on the move from
> Mind, Self and Society on the difference between play and the game I
> realized that I have been sort of misreading it, that when Mead uses play
> it is not as a developmental metaphor in relation to the Game but is quite
> literally children's play.
> Anyway my question is that.  This ideas from Mead and Vygotsky seem very
> close together.  Is there one specific source somewhere from which they
> are both getting this idea (remember that Mead was writing this in 1910)?
> This might speak to how related they are.
> Michael
> ________________________________
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu on behalf of Jonathan Tudge JRTUDGE
> Sent: Tue 11/17/2009 9:46 AM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Does "Obuchenie" Have Two Sides?
> 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 sense
> 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 and
> 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 the
> "/" 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 of
> "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 in
> 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 need
> 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 processes.
> 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 a
> result their meanings develop. So I doubt very much if either "learning"
> or "development" means what it means in the Large Psychological Dictionary
> 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 too
> literal, early, vulgar materialist interpretation of the "social situation
> 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", we
> 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 the
> 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
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Artin Goncu, Ph.D
Educational Psychology
College of Education M/C 147
1040 W. Harrison St.
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 996-5259

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