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[Xmca-l] Re: Request for advice



Dear Helen (and others joining in this thread),
>From the GST view point, there is the whole systems of universities (The 
Academy) throughout the world.
An aspect of this whole conversation lives against this backdrop.
Foregrounding of lecture style, personal style, class size draws 
attention away from the grand development in institutionalised education,
 temples, churches, literacy - China, Egypt, Spain, France, England, USA 
- India, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Africa (terrible how all that is Africa 
comes to one word - but I don't know enough about it).

The choice to enter higher education is still a choice - maybe 
determined by class and income but talent is also respected. There are 
normative practices - Introductory Lectures, Core requirements, 
Specialty requirements. A four (to six) year course prepares young 
people to enter society/the work force - and some by interest and 
predisposition, choose to become teachers. The TA or tutor system gives 
opportunity to older students to manage or interact with small groups of 
younger students and brings these older "stake-holders" (who care about 
their professor, publication, and stipend) to exercise "normative" 
influence on the "sophomores" - especially the fiery ones who want to do 
something now to change things.

So one sees all this happening over the course of 40 years in public and 
private educational systems, through experimental New Math and 
educational theories fed into the system from the faculties of education 
preparing teachers for service. 

This is when I plainly see Ross Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety - 
called the first law of cybernetics, complexity, or chaos (I've found 
all of them) at work.  Japan, China, and Korea -as well as Singapore, 
Taiwan, Indonesia, are vying for better economies, educational systems, 
influence - and is India, USA, Canada - 
seeking out the best of the best and whisking them away to think tanks 
and laboratories with scholarships and funding in well equipped labs - 
while others stay near home, their families, and attempt to make for 
their own family, their children, a better life.  And spend their money 
on cell phones, iPads, android connectivity.

I've already used up my space, but my experience in Japan is all about 
me being a "native speaker of English" with a PhD, and nothing about 
Medieval or Classical Literature (what I studied). But being a  career 
language teacher, well, some students show up and stick around and 
develop higher level abilities without having to go to another country, 
some students do take study abroad options. Universities expand 
possibilities, while parents have to pay, and some students get *here* (
Japan) and have to work with low pay to live and share digs with several 
people - we can see it happening, it's been happening all along. And now 
Vietnam wants to do a "bootstrap" operation to vault to a higher level - 
and the selection processes are intense, but all the while, there are 
individuals seeking their own level, seeking to go as far as they can, 
wanting nothing better than to be in their hometown and start a business 
... I

The conclusion (there is no real conclusion) is a thought that every 
conversation Helena has, every chance she has to present her ideas in 
visual, iconic, keyword form, transmitting essential information not 
only in the material, but her stance, the way she breathes and the 
resonance of her voice, and the way she works with whatever persons 
assist her will have a profound impact on those around her, no matter 
what!

I myself am in awe of the wealth of perspective, array of practical 
ideas, the awareness of the darkness behind it all - or the good 
potential for growth and change. Thank you. 


----- Original Message -----
> Helen,
> I love that you asked for advice and have gotten such good stuff from 
the chatters. I have, what I think, might be something worth thinking 
about, maybe not. Maybe it’s already been raised and I just missed it.
> 
> I have had a thought about contrasting pedagogies and that is the 
different personalities of the both students and teachers. Is there any 
chance that some students and some teachers prefer one approach and 
other students and teachers another? Alternatively, that some students 
and some teachers learn more and teach better using one approach, others 
by using another approach. Perhaps some amount of preference and choice? 
I am sure the emphasis on differences across cultures is well taken, but 
even those differences might be open to reflection and conjecture, just 
as differences of a more personal nature. At the very least, addressing 
these issues openly might help prepare your students, teachers and 
bureaucrats for the inevitable changes that will take place over time in 
how EFL in Vietnam will be taught. Could this discussion be part of 
curriculum development?
> 
> Henry
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
>  
> 
> 
> > On Jan 4, 2016, at 2:00 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> 
wrote:
> > 
> > Wholeheartedly do I endorse Andy's idea--that separating the 
language of
> > the curriculum (the regulative register, to use a Bernsteinian term) 
from
> > the language of the tutorial (the instructional register, in the 
Bernstein
> > lingo) is a subversive move rather than a revolutionary one: it is 
designed
> > to bring in the native language through the back door, until we are 
in a
> > position to lay revolutionary hands on the regulative register 
itself. But
> > I think that we may find that laying native-speaking hands on the
> > regulative register will sometimes have the unexpected effect of
> > transforming the native language as well.
> > 
> > The Chinese language passed through a very interesting period in the 
early
> > twentieth centruy called the May Fourth Movement when 
revolutionaries tried
> > to introduce foreign political concepts with foreign sounds, so that 
for
> > example "democracy" became "de-mo-ke-la-xi". Today it is the 
morphemes and
> > not the phonemes we use: "min zhu zhu yi" = "people-rule-thought-ism
".
> > Needless to say it is the latter word that united China in 1989 
during the
> > 70th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement which coincided with the 
200th
> > anniversary of the French Revolution, the death of Hu Yaobang, and 
which
> > culiminated in the so-called Tiananmen Massacre (a movement which 
the West
> > still mistakenly associates with students, with Gorbachov's visit to
> > Beijing, with the supposed impact of the VOA and the BBC and thus 
with
> > their own shining example, showing that the West still thinks about
> > democracy as "de-mo-ke-la-xi").
> > 
> > Transforming the native language is not a bad thing at all, unless 
of
> > course you are a craven fundamentalist, in which case there would be 
a
> > turning of backs rather than a laying on of revolutionary hands (the 
good
> > thing about revolutionaries is that they are always willing to 
undertake a
> > revolutionary reconstruction of their own ideas; the bad thing about 
them
> > is that they sometimes want to do this first, before they have laid
> > revolutionary hands on the environment, and the Genetic Law--we 
control
> > ourselves through controlling the environment--tells us that this is
> > contrary to nature and will not do). But this brings us back to the
> > question of what exactly needs to change, and how. Teaching 
mathematics is
> > a bit of  a dodge: mathematics already has a (written) language of 
its own,
> > and all we really need to do is to oralize it. Helena's task is much 
more
> > daunting.
> > 
> > And yet not completely unrelated. Since Helena has given me 
permission to
> > bust the one frame rule, let me take the example I have last time;
> > "Fracture growth rate is directly proportional to the increase in 
pressure
> > on the materials."  The underlying structure of this clause is just 
"y = f
> > (x)", that is, "Fracture growth rate" = "increase in pressure on the
> > materials"/n. How did we get this structure, which barely exists in 
Greek
> > and Latin, and which certainly did not exist in Chaucerian English (
see his
> > "Discourse on the Astrolabe", a text that he wrote in the scientific
> > English of the time, which is actually quite close to the sort of 
thing we
> > see in discovery learning classes based on the Piagetian model. 
Halliday's
> > answer to this question actually moves us AWAY from the "hands on" 
model of
> > science teaching and towards the more Davydovian theoretical model 
of
> > instruction.
> > 
> > We go this structure from the work of people like Galileo and Newton,
 and
> > in Newton's "Opticks" we can actually see it taking shape, as Newton 
gets
> > himself a prism and does experiments (rather as Chaucer did with his
> > astrolabe, and Galileo with his telescope) and then tries to write 
them up.
> > He finds that he needs words to describe the convex quality of 
lenses, and
> > so he invents the word "plumpness". This word did not stick, but the
> > concept certainly did, and so did the other words that arose from it:
> > "refraction", "reflection", "dispersion", etc.
> > 
> > So perhaps one way in which small group work works is as a time 
machine: it
> > allows the tutor to dialogically unpack the "matematized" terms of
> > discourse into everyday speech, e.g.
> > 
> > Tutor: Look at this. "Fracture growth rate". What is it? Is it a 
fracture?
> > Is it a growth? Or is it a rate?
> > Ss: ...
> > T: Right. What kind of rate? Is it fracture rate or growth rate?
> > S:...
> > T: Good. But growth rate of what?
> > S:...
> > T: You got it. Now, what would your mother say about this, if you 
were
> > eating crackers and making a mess? She might say this: The cracker 
cracks
> > are growing fast? Or slow?
> > 
> > Of course the other terms can be unpacked in the same way, until 
these
> > "yes/no" questions and "why" questions eventually give rise to 
questions
> > like "Why does the fracture growth rate increase/decrease in 
circumstance
> > X?"
> > 
> > Let me make two points about this kind of unpacking and then I'll 
shut up.
> > The first is Andy's: it can and should be done in the native 
language, not
> > least because when we do this in the native language we may find 
ourselves
> > setting new standards in native language teaching as well. But the 
second
> > is that for precisely that reason, I don't think it depends on small
> > groups, peer tutorials, and the kinds of classroom interaction 
patterns
> > that have become historically associated with it in the West
> > for historically specific reasons, some of which have more to do
> > with bourgeois individualism than with pedagogical efficiency).
> > 
> > David Kellogg
> > Macquarie University
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > On Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 11:53 PM, Helena Worthen <helenaworthen@gmail.
com>
> > wrote:
> > 
> >> David, I'll make an exception this time.
> >> 
> >> :)
> >> 
> >> Helena
> >> 
> >> Helena Worthen
> >> helenaworthen@gmail.com
> >> Vietnam blog: helenaworthen.wordpress.com
> >> 
> >> On Jan 4, 2016, at 2:19 PM, David Kellogg wrote:
> >> 
> >>> A number of discussants have made the suggestion of small groups,
> >>> tutorials, peer presentations, and so on, and this is an excellent
> >>> suggestion. But we need know—and be able to explain—exactly why it 
is
> >>> excellent, in what this excellence consists of, and what the 
limitations
> >> of
> >>> the excellence are, because we often do find that in situations 
like the
> >>> one which Helena is describing (situations like the ones where I 
have
> >> spent
> >>> the last three and a half decades teaching), when we try to 
introduce
> >> small
> >>> groups, tutorials, and peer presentations that we’ve only 
multiplied the
> >>> problems that we started with and sometimes even exacerbated them. 
For if
> >>> the professor has only a minimal grasp of English, and if the 
students
> >> find
> >>> it almost impossible to have a conversation about the topic even 
when the
> >>> professor is prompting them, we have to ask what the effect of 
removing
> >> or
> >>> sidelining or backgrounding the professor will be. Many students 
feel—and
> >>> the evidence is that they are not entirely wrong—that the effect 
is to
> >>> remove or to background the only source of English and the main 
source of
> >>> conceptual knowledge.
> >>> 
> >>> The argument has to be taken seriously, for at least three reasons.
 First
> >>> of all, as I said, there’s a lot of evidence that shows that 
although the
> >>> professor undoubtedly feels a great deal of relief that his or her 
poor
> >>> grasp of English is no longer the centre of the student’s critical
> >>> attention, all that’s really been accomplished is to move the 
centre of
> >>> attention to a student who in some cases bears it even less well 
than the
> >>> professor did. Often the results of small groups are not 
noticeably
> >> better
> >>> than the results of teacher fronted classes, except in “skills 
based”
> >>> classes which offer practice to learners, e.g. conversation 
classes, and
> >> in
> >>> the case of conceptual knowledge based classes the results are 
sometimes
> >>> dramatically worse. In fact, Hywel Coleman’s large scale studies 
in
> >> Nigeria
> >>> showed that there really wasn’t any particular advantage for small
> >> classes
> >>> over large classes, given highly motivated students (and the 
autodidacts
> >>> amongst us can easily see why this might be).
> >>> 
> >>> Secondly, even if there were no objective evidence on the side of 
large
> >>> classes and against groupwork, there is an important subjective 
argument.
> >>> Many learners, right or wrong, feel they learn better from a 
professor
> >> than
> >>> from their peers, just as we sometimes feel that we learn better 
from our
> >>> peers than from ourselves (or our children). This subjective 
argument is
> >>> particularly important because I think one reason why groupwork 
and peer
> >>> seminar have such clout with us is that, unlike Professor 
Silverstein, we
> >>> are more interested in empowering our learners than merely 
informing
> >> them,
> >>> yet again, of the ways they are disempowered. The argument that 
groupwork
> >>> and peer seminars are right because they empower learners appears 
to be
> >>> unanswerable—but suppose the learners use this power to call for 
the
> >> return
> >>> of large professor led classes? The argument is, once again,
> >> unanswerable,
> >>> and I think it shows the dangers of confusing issues that are 
pedagogical
> >>> (and therefore social, political) with issues that are ethical (
and
> >>> therefore interpersonal, moral). The personal is NOT political; 
they are
> >>> two very different, if linked, levels of being.
> >>> But thirdly I think the argument in favor of large classes 
deserves to be
> >>> taken seriously because it will help us get beneath the surface 
and find
> >>> out what it is about small classes that is pedagogically more 
effective.
> >> It
> >>> is certainly not the case that all small classes are pedagogically
> >>> effective nor is it the case that large classes never are. Is it 
SIMPLY
> >> an
> >>> aesthetic-political preference, that small is beautiful? Is it 
once again
> >>> something we all favor for the convenience of the instructor 
rather than
> >>> for the comfort of the student? Or is there something about the 
shape of
> >>> actual discourse that we should be attending to, not least because 
it
> >> might
> >>> be transferable to larger classes? Does this mysterious factor, 
having to
> >>> do with the shape of actual discourse, apply equally to so-called
> >> “content”
> >>> subjects, where the emphasis is on what Vygotsky calls “science 
concepts”
> >>> and to everyday conversation classes?
> >>> 
> >>> (But...I am well over Helena's one screen limit, and I feel the 
cold
> >> clammy
> >>> hand of her hook on my throat....)
> >>> 
> >>> David Kellogg
> >>> Macquarie University
> >>> 
> >>> On Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 10:14 AM, Helena Worthen <helenaworthen@
gmail.com
> >>> 
> >>> wrote:
> >>> 
> >>>> Hmm, this will take me some research to check out. Thank you, 
Michael -
> >>>> 
> >>>> However, I was given a Cross-Cultural leadership class to teach (
in
> >>>> English) that drew from a syllabus placed online by an MIT 
professor. I
> >>>> said yes just to see what it would be like. It was a skimpy 
syllabus
> >> that
> >>>> relied heavily on the kind of student who would show up in a MIT 
class
> >>>> (multi-national and academically skilled) and the readings were 
mostly
> >> from
> >>>> Amazon; you got a button to click and buy. I was told that the
> >> instructor's
> >>>> lecture notes were all on line but what was actually on line was
> >> something
> >>>> he probably wrote in an hour.
> >>>> 
> >>>> I had to re-write the class, of course.
> >>>> 
> >>>> Helena Worthen
> >>>> helenaworthen@gmail.com
> >>>> Vietnam blog: helenaworthen.wordpress.com
> >>>> 
> >>>> On Jan 3, 2016, at 9:26 PM, Glassman, Michael wrote:
> >>>> 
> >>>>> Hi Helena,
> >>>>> 
> >>>>> There is a possibility that your university is attempting to 
follow the
> >>>> Open Educational Resource model that is being promoted by UNESCO 
(that
> >> is
> >>>> just a guess).  Are they using OpenCourseware, which started at 
MIT,
> >> where
> >>>> major universities post their curriculum and some related 
resources in
> >>>> their native language (mostly at this point in English?)  A 
number of
> >>>> universities similar to yours are attempting to follow this model.
> >> However
> >>>> UNESCO itself recognizes the problem that you describe.  There is 
a
> >> second
> >>>> part to the OER movement which involves Learning Objects.  These 
are
> >>>> locally developed, much smaller approaches to teaching - even 
taking
> >> parts
> >>>> of OpenCourseware and experimenting with them in local classrooms 
and
> >> then
> >>>> posting them to share and in the best possible worlds discuss 
with other
> >>>> universities in Learning Object Repositories.   African Virtual
> >> University
> >>>> is a good model for this.  You can make one an argument that the
> >> university
> >>>> can achieve the type of recognition is requires by developing a 
Learning
> >>>> Objects Repository for Southeast Asia.
> >>>>> 
> >>>>> Michael
> >>>>> 
> >>>>> -----Original Message-----
> >>>>> From: xmca-l-bounces+mglassman=ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.
edu
> >>>> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces+mglassman=ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.
edu]
> >> On
> >>>> Behalf Of Helena Worthen
> >>>>> Sent: Saturday, January 02, 2016 11:39 PM
> >>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> >>>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Request for advice
> >>>>> 
> >>>>> Thank you, Elinami.
> >>>>> 
> >>>>> H
> >>>>> 
> >>>>> Helena Worthen
> >>>>> helenaworthen@gmail.com
> >>>>> Vietnam blog: helenaworthen.wordpress.com
> >>>>> 
> >>>>> On Jan 3, 2016, at 11:32 AM, Elinami Swai wrote:
> >>>>> 
> >>>>>> Dear Helena.
> >>>>>> Your dilemma resonates with what we are experiencing in 
Tanzania. As a
> >>>>>> post colonial country, we have been grappling with the issue of
> >>>>>> language of instruction for a very long time. Our education 
system has
> >>>>>> been jogging between Kiswahili and English and for a long time 
we had
> >>>>>> settled on Kiswahili for all the subjects in elementary level (
primary
> >>>>>> 1-7) and English for secondary  to university level.
> >>>>>> 
> >>>>>> Talk of silences in classrooms. Here and there you could hear a 
sound
> >>>>>> of broken English from the teachers. The end product of such a 
process
> >>>>>> does not need to be described here.
> >>>>>> 
> >>>>>> Of recent, the new policy has granted the use of both languages
> >>>>>> (Kiswahili and English).
> >>>>>> 
> >>>>>> In your case, think of code-switching and code-mixing. Another
> >>>>>> strategy is team teaching (check Stanford University).
> >>>>>> 
> >>>>>> Kind Regards,
> >>>>>> 
> >>>>>> Elinami
> >>>>>> 
> >>>>>> 
> >>>>>> 
> >>>>>> 
> >>>>>> On 03/01/2016, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:
> >>>>>>> Helena,
> >>>>>>> 
> >>>>>>> Is it possible to ignite their imaginations around the concept 
of a
> >>>> seminar?
> >>>>>>> Or dare I say, peer-learning / study groups?
> >>>>>>> 
> >>>>>>> Vera devised the peer-exam, which is really cool, how about 
that?
> >>>>>>> 
> >>>>>>> I don't think peer-exam technically qualifies as an "Ivy-
League
> >> method"
> >>>>>>> (though it certainly is innovative), but it's peer-led 
learning, and
> >>>>>>> that may be useful for overcoming the obstacles you and your 
teachers
> >>>> face?
> >>>>>>> 
> >>>>>>> So those are my (naive) pieces of broccoli and spinach for 
your
> >>>>>>> Vietnamese noodle soup.
> >>>>>>> 
> >>>>>>> Kind regards,
> >>>>>>> 
> >>>>>>> Annalisa
> >>>>>>> 
> >>>>>>> 
> >>>>>>> 
> >>>>>> 
> >>>>>> 
> >>>>>> --
> >>>>>> Dr. Elinami Swai
> >>>>>> Senior Lecturer
> >>>>>> Associate Dean
> >>>>>> Coordinator, Postgraduate Studies
> >>>>>> Faculty of Education
> >>>>>> Open University of Tanzania
> >>>>>> P.O.Box 23409
> >>>>>> Dar-Es-Salaam
> >>>>>> Tell:255-022-2668992/2668820/2668445/26687455
> >>>>>> Fax:022-2668759
> >>>>>> Cell: (255) 076-722-8353; (255) 068-722-8353
> >>>>>> 
> >> http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Womens-Empowerment-Africa-Dislocation/dp/

> >>>>>> 0230102484
> >>>>>>     ...this faith will still deliver
> >>>>>>     If you live it first to last
> >>>>>>     Not everything which blooms must
> >>>>>>     wither.
> >>>>>>     Not all that was is past
> >>>>> 
> >>>>> 
> >>>>> 
> >>>> 
> >>>> 
> >>>> 
> >> 
> >> 
> >> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
>