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[Xmca-l] Re: "Mediation" as Error Correction
Well, in the Dynamic Assessment literature there's a split. Some argue for
"interventionist" DA, which works on the following assumptions:
a) The ideal form is present in the curriculum which is given beforehand.
b) The path to the ideal form is one of carefully graded "prompts" (similar
to the cline I gave earlier, that is, a focus on:
1. The EXISTENCE of an error ("'This is book'. Are you sure that's right?")
2. The LOCATION of the error. (*This is...?")
3. The NATURE of the error ("How many books?")
4. The WAY TO CORRECT the error ("This is a....?")
5. The active ACCEPTANCE of correction ("No, now listen. 'This is a book.'")
6. The passive RECOGNITION of correction ("No, now listen. 'This is a
book.' Repeat that for me!")
(Note in passing that this isn't that different from the idea of reducing
frustration by reducing the consequences of error and then reducing the
probability of error, c.f. Bruner, Wood and Ross 1975.)
The idea behind interventionist DA is that the curriculum is always right
and there exists (more or less) a single path to the curriculum, which can
be marked out by the prompts 1-6. The RATE of progress to the curricular
model will change, but the ROUTE is invariable.
You can see that two corollaries follow from this idea of invariant route
and variable rates. The first is that the interventionist DA model is
assessment oriented, which appeals to principals as well as to independent
minded learners. The second is that the interventionist DA model is
particularly conducive to the mass production of teaching materials that
sideline the teacher, the sort of thing that Mary is worried about in
The second option is just the opposite: it's called "interactionist" DA,
and it's highly favored by Jim Lantolf (and Steve Thorne, Mathew Poehner,
Neguerlea-Azola, and other writers associated with Penn State University).
The idea is just the opposite: there isn't a single path, and the route to
"communicative competence" can be highly variable so the whole is subject
You can see that this model is not so assessment oriented, and that it
foregrounds the teacher and will tend to disempower publishers at the
expense of teacher trainers (and, more worryingly, non-native speakers at
the expense of native speakers).
Maybe these two variants of DA correspond, more or less, to the kind of
bifurcation that Huw is talking about? That is, the former is more
conducive to the Leontiev/Davidov/Elkonin model of learner appropriation
and self-regulation as development, while the latter tends to the
Lave/Rogoff/Matusov model of participatory learning?
And Vygotsky? I rather suspect he would have wished a hearty plague on both
houses, although as Huw says, in Vygotsky the end result of development is
not merely participation: it's individuation.
A propos. I have been reading Eisenstein's essays "Film Form". There are
long quotes in it that are STRAIGHT out of Thinking and Speech--I mean,
word for word. Take, for example, p. 135:
"The Indians of this tribe--the Bororo--maintain that, while human beings,
they are none the less at the same time also a special kind of red parakeet
common in Brazil. Note that by this they do not in any way mean that they
will become these birds after death, or that their ancestors were such in
the remote past. Not at all. They directly maintain that they are in
reality these actual birds. It is not here a matter of identity of names or
relationships; they mean a complete simultaneous identity of both."
Eisenstein, S. (1949). Film Form. New York: Harcourt.
Has anyone noticed this before?
On Sat, Feb 13, 2016 at 7:06 AM, Mary Connery <ConneryMC@cwu.edu> wrote:
> Dear colleagues:
> Just a quick hello to validate David's insights! In my view from
> Washington schools, I would also add there is a huge profit being made by
> companies that construct, dictate, create materials for, and assess
> curriculum from this neo-behaviorist stance. It has created an epic teacher
> shortage; is replacing fundamental, essential, and formative
> teacher-student relationships with machines and big media; and promoting
> the anti-thesis of content development and language acquisition in the name
> of educational reform. In the meantime, the CEOs in Palo Alto send their
> kids to Montessori and Waldorf schools to develop creativity.
> Have a good day!
> Dr. M. Cathrene Connery
> Senior Lecturer
> Central Washington University
> Language, Literacy, & Special Education
> Ellensburg, WA 98927
> "Be the change you wish to see in the world." ~Ghandi~
> > On Feb 12, 2016, at 12:48 PM, David Kellogg <email@example.com>
> > Huw, Alfredo, Alex, Mike:
> > Language teaching is still in a stage I would call semi-behaviorist: we
> > interested in shaping behavior, and not in what Kozulin calls cognitive
> > modifications. So the "dynamic assessment" work done by Feuerstein and
> > Kozulin has been "shaped" by the studies of corrective feedback done in
> > late twentieth century by people like Mike Long, Cathy Doughty, Teresa
> > Pica, and Susan Gass. At first these studies seemed to show that
> > feedback was more effective when it was implicit--when there was a focus
> > meaning rather than on form--because the result was that people were able
> > to shape their behavior even when their cognitive focus was elsewhere.
> > in 1997 Lyster and Ranta demonstrated that most teachers already use the
> > most implicit form of correction, namely the so-called "recast".
> > S: And this is book.
> > T: That's a book, yeah.
> > S: Yeah, this is book, and is very expensive in you country.
> > They also demonstrated that these implicit forms of correction were the
> > most likely to be ignored by the student, often because (as in this
> > example) the student is quite unaware that anything is wrong at all. So
> > has begun to appear that cognitive modifications are not irrelevant after
> > all.
> > As Andy points out, there is a strong tendency for we as academics to
> > resist cognitive modifications too--that is why people prefer to mine
> > Vygotsky's (Marx's, Hegel's) texts for jargon with which to rephrase what
> > they already believe rather than to undertake the hard work of
> > reconstructing the whole original system of concepts in their context.
> > academics are a powerful check on other academics.
> > After years of equating "dynamic assessment" with corrective feedback,
> > Poehner has begun to argue that dynamic assessment is really about
> > transferring the locus of assessment to the learner. I am not sure to
> > extent this argument is motivated by a desire to return to the Vygotskyan
> > idea of internalization and to what extent it is simply another swing of
> > the pendulum: it seems to me that Poehner's model of "self-assessment"
> > pretty much ignores what Vygotsky really had to say about
> > because (like the idea that DA is nothing more than corrective feedback)
> > assumes that the "mediator" is the site of development and not just the
> > source (that is, the learner's job is not to reconstruct or to
> > the correct form but simply to "appropriate" it from the environment).
> > So it seems to me that the place to start to try to untangle this web of
> > misappropriations from Vygotsky is with "mediation". As Andy says, for
> > Hegel everything in heaven and earth, man and nature, is mediated (but
> > things are more so than others). For Marx mediation arises because
> > it reason (man) is simply the slave of necessity (nature). For the old
> > Vygotsky (the critical reactologist) mediation arises because one
> > can have many responses and vice versa, and for the new Vygotsky (the
> > semasiologist, the pedologist), it arises because one sign can have many
> > interpreters and many interpretations and vice versa. This allows the
> > emergence of self and free will (because after all I myself am a
> > interpreter of my own signs). So it turns out that Poehner's emphasis on
> > self-assessment is not completely irrelevant.
> > A propos, a little problem in translation for the Russophones on the
> > Vygotsky says (in his work on Early Childhood in Vol. 4 of the Russian
> > Collected Works, p. 347).
> > "Габриэль очень хорошо описал эти постоянные непонимания. По его мнению,
> > исследователи напрасно не обращали внимания на затруднения в понимании
> > только что начинающего говорить ребенка взрослыми."
> > Hall renders this as:
> > "Gabriel described these misunderstandings (that is, the
> > caused by the child's use of single word sentences to adults) very well.
> > his opinion, investigators did not turn their attention in vain to the
> > adults' difficulties in understanding a child who is just beginning to
> > speak."
> > But it seems to me that the very opposite interpretation is also
> > "Gabriel described these misunderstandings very well. According to him,
> > researchers wasted their time in not attending to the difficulty for
> > in understanding a child who just starting to speak."
> > What do you think?
> > David Kellogg
> > Macquarie University
> > On Fri, Feb 12, 2016 at 5:41 AM, Huw Lloyd <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > wrote:
> >> Hi David,
> >> Well, we can ask direct and indirect with respect to what? The sign
> >> systems, in this case, are what is being 'directly' corrected. The
> >> indirect, is that which the sign systems are about. So, a good
> >> in which to learn appropriate grammar for this phrase is one in which
> >> ambiguity and confusion is induced in the receiver of such a message,
> >> thereby allowing for a contextualised and situated understanding of the
> >> meaning. For students who are comfortable with talking about notation
> >> itself, however, perhaps you can do both, but I still think it merits
> >> pointing to the real meanings.
> >>> From the encyclopaedia of social behavioural sciences:
> >> Actiity Theory and Errors
> >> Activity theorists define errors as the non attainment of an activity
> >> The comparison of the activity outcome with the goal determines whether
> >> goal has been achieved or whether further actions have to be
> >> If an unintended outcome occurs, an error will be given. Consequently, a
> >> definition of an error based on Activity Theories integrates three
> >> (a) errors will only appear in goal-directed actions; (b) an error
> >> the nonattainment of the goal; (c) an error should have been potentially
> >> avoidable (Frese and Zapf 1991). Frese and Zapf (1991) developed an
> >> taxonomy based on a version of Action Theory. This taxonomy and other
> >> comparable ones are inevitable in the examination of causes of errors
> >> faults as a prerequisite of error prevention. Error prevention became an
> >> inevitable concern in modern technologies, e.g., the control rooms of
> >> nuclear power plants.
> >> Best,
> >> Huw
> >>> On 11 February 2016 at 20:24, David Kellogg <email@example.com>
> >>> I don't think error correction or even "making a student say 'This is a
> >>> book' is always "direct" or "immediate", quite the contrary. Most of
> >> DA
> >>> sources I am referring to (yes, I am thinking of Lantolf and Poehner)
> >>> distinguish between the highly indirect and the direct. We can lay out
> >>> kind of cline.
> >>> HIGHLY INDIRECT
> >>> a) What did you say?
> >>> b) Did you say a book?
> >>> c) A book?
> >>> d) A book.
> >>> e) You mean a book.
> >>> f) No, you have to say "a book".
> >>> HIGHLY DIRECT
> >>> There are various ways of discussing this cline in the literature, e.g.
> >>> "implicit" to "explicit" correction (Long and Doughty), or
> >>> "interventionist" vs. "non-interventionist" (Lantolf and Poehner), or
> >>> "recasts" vs. "prompts" (Ellis and others), "other repair" vs. "self
> >>> repair" (the Conversation Analysts). I don't agree that direct
> >> intervention
> >>> is bad, and indirect intervention good. Since the work of Lyster and
> >> Ranta,
> >>> we have become acutely conscious that most teacher intervention is
> >>> indirect and thus highly ineffective.
> >>> The real thing that needs to be "mediated" is this:
> >>> g) Every singular noun must have a determiner in English.
> >>> Now, I think grasping this (is it implicit? Is it explicit?) is
> >>> only in the following sense: in order to be able to use it, you need to
> >>> understand concepts like "noun", "singular", and "determiner". These
> >>> all academic concepts and not everyday concepts and they cannot be
> >> directly
> >>> taught (c.f. Chapter Six of Thinking and Speech). I think that all
> >>> correction, direct and indirect, is a way of indirectly teaching it.
> >>> Perhaps the two "forces of nature" that are being played against each
> >> other
> >>> are the eidetic memory, which is concrete and based on everyday
> >> experience,
> >>> and forgetting, which produces an involuntary form of abstraction.
> >> Neither
> >>> force can overcome the other, but a learner can use a voluntary form of
> >>> abstraction to overcome both.
> >>> I think the problem with the way "mediation" is interpreted as the
> >>> learner's "internalization" of the correction is simply this: it falls
> >> prey
> >>> to what Chaiklin calls the "assistance" assumption: the idea that the
> >> site
> >>> of development, and not simply the source, is the environment nad not
> >>> learner. The environment (the correct form) is indeed the source of
> >>> development (and I do think grasping the English article system does
> >>> represent a form of real development, and certainly academic concepts
> >> do).
> >>> But the learner and only the learner is the site.
> >>> David Kellogg
> >>> Macquarie University
> >>> On Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 8:04 PM, Huw Lloyd <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> >>> wrote:
> >>>> Perhaps you should respond in kind, David:
> >>>> 1. A failure to understand that speech and systems of notation
> >> mediate,
> >>>> i.e. guide and structure, activity which is the phenomenon that
> >> benefits
> >>>> from contact with reality.
> >>>> 2. Failure to understand that direct correction of these systems can
> >>>> inculcate an erroneous sense that systems of notation and speech are
> >> the
> >>>> "objective material" to be worked upon, rather than the efficacy of
> >> their
> >>>> use in realising object systems from which natural feedback can be
> >>>> obtained.
> >>>> 3. Failure to grasp the opportunity to frame these minor situations in
> >> the
> >>>> context of encouraging the student's own self-regulation and
> >> in
> >>>> thinking.
> >>>> Any good?
> >>>> Best,
> >>>> Huw
> >>>> On 10 February 2016 at 21:38, David Kellogg <email@example.com>
> >> wrote:
> >>>>> I am occasionally, out of deference to a few papers I once published
> >> in
> >>>>> TESOL, sent articles to review on the use of Vygotskyan concepts in
> >>>>> language learning. Time was that these articles were mostly about
> >>>>> scaffolding and the ZPD; of late they have been mostly concerned with
> >>>>> "internalization" and "mediation".
> >>>>> The problem is that most of these articles have taken these concepts
> >>>>> entirely out of child development and placed them in an alien
> >>>>> context--classroom error correction, which is now referred to as
> >> "Dynamic
> >>>>> Assessment".
> >>>>> I am not sure what to do about this. It seems to me that one way to
> >> start
> >>>>> to address the issue is to go back to the original Hegelian idea of
> >>>>> "mediation" as using one force of nature against another: the force
> >> of
> >>>> air
> >>>>> pressure against gravity in flying, or the friction of snow vs. the
> >>>>> momentum of the fall line in skiing.
> >>>>> When a teacher corrects an error in a classroom, e.g. when a teacher
> >>>> makes
> >>>>> the student say "This is a book" instead of "This is book", what are
> >> the
> >>>>> forces of nature that are being used against each other? Is this
> >> really
> >>>> an
> >>>>> instance of mediation at all?
> >>>>> David Kellogg
> >>>>> Macquarie University