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[Xmca-l] Re: Why Doesn't Vygotsky Use "Microgenesis"?


Dynamic assessment is a really good example of what I'm talking about.
Dynamic assessment is supposedly based on the ZPD. But I think there are
three linked ways in which it is actually based on a distortion of the ZPD.

a) Dynamic assessment looks at microgenesis, not ontogenesis. I think the
idea was originally that the microgenetic perturbations that were picked up
in DA were, actually, predictive of the "next zone of development". But
there are two reasons why this has not happened. Firstly, there hasn't been
a clear demarcation between learning and development, and the idea
that what the child can do today with assistance will be done by the child
independently tomorrow--literally, in twenty-four hours--is just too
attractive to people like Matt Poehner and Jim Lantolf. Secondly, there
hasn't been a clear scheme for figuring out what the next zone of
development really is (it's there in Vygotsky's pedological lectures, but
these haven't been translated yet).

b) Dynamic assessment is "dynamic" and not diagnostic. It's interesting to
compare the two Russian versions of Vygotsky's pedological lectures:



Compare 2001: 191 with 1984: 260 (and also the English version, 1998:
199!). It's not just that the Russian editors insist on replacing "test"
with "task"--it's that they consistently replace "diagnostic" with
"dynamic", even where this leads to redundant headings and total nonsense.
Why? Well, because in the Soviet scheme of things, the ZPD is NOT
diagnostic: it's dynamic. That means that a personality is infinitely
malleable and tomorrow's development, with the right kind of mediation, can
become today's. This is something that DA has largely adopted from its
Soviet roots....but it's not Vygotsky.

c) As a result DA has to reject the core of Vygotsky's method: for
Vygotsky, structure is to be explained by function, but function MUST be
explained by history, by development. Suppose I have two children. One
learns, the other doesn't. The structural explanation is simply that the
first one has the right mental structures to learn and the second does not.
The functional explanation is that the first has the right functional
motivation (putative career, middle class aspirations, etc) while the other
does not. But the sad truth is that the vast majority of learning
difficulties really are developmental. I don't think that means that they
are destiny. But I do think it means that prevention is a whole lot easier
than cure. In DA, development is Markovian: the present and the future are
linked causally--but not the past and the present: it's a weird inversion
of Aristotle's belief that the past was determined but the future is
intrinsically non-determinable.

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

On Mon, Oct 10, 2016 at 3:52 PM, Arturo Escandon <arturo.escandon@gmail.com>

> David,
> In my research about dynamic assessment I have been able to spot a
> moment students reorganise L1 and L2 concepts (related to urbanistic
> and architectural city features) in such a way that they no longer
> "perceive" the sounds of words. Students who do not arrive to that
> reorganisation are not able to escape from the perceptual challenge of
> oral utterances.
> The first group of students tend to mediate their linguistic
> production either in ideograms or Spanish-alphabet written words when
> asked to take notes. The second group tend to use the Japanese
> syllabic system to transliterate sounds.
> Best
> Arturo Escandón
> On 9 October 2016 at 07:21, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> > When I read materials on Vygotsky, particularly in applied linguistics or
> > TESOL, I always get the "four timescales" (phylogenetic, sociogenetic,
> > ontogenetic, and microgenetic) from Mescharyakov's wonderful article on
> > Vygotsky's terminology. At first, in the vain hope that it would help us
> to
> > distinguish better between ontogenetic development and microgenetic
> > learning, I used this myself (see Song and Kellogg 2011).
> >
> > Now I think that was a mistake. The term "microgenesis" was around when
> > Vygotsky was alive and he certainly knew about it: it's a constant
> feature
> > of Gestaltist studies of perception. It's also strongly associated with
> the
> > Nazi psychology of Leipzig. Vygotsky knows about the term and doesn't use
> > it, and I think he's got good reasons.
> >
> > Even where LSV agrees with the Gestaltists (Kohler, Koffka, Lewin,
> > Wertheimer, Selz--they weren't all Nazis!) he doesn't seem to use the
> term
> > microgenesis. And actually, he's quite interested in Nazi psychology and
> > not afraid to quote it, although he bitterly, scathingly, denounces
> > Jaensch, Krueger, Ach, Kroh and others in "Fascism in Psychoneurology". I
> > think he doesn't use "microgenesis" because it conflates external
> > perception with perceiving meaning.
> >
> > Halliday, who also uses "phylogenetic" and "ontogenetic", calls his
> "micro"
> > scale logogenesis: the creation of semantics (as opposed to biological,
> > social, or psychological semiosis). Take Zaza's article. At a particular
> > point, the participants become uninterested in perceptual high fidelity
> and
> > much more interested in meaning--what will Gogo think if she sees that
> her
> > daughter-in-law is using mechanical means for nursing?
> >
> > Of course, semantic meaning is always linked to perceptual meaning. But
> > "linked" never means equal or mutual or fully reciprocal: the specific
> > weight is first on one side and then on the other. Microgenesis is what
> you
> > get in eye tests, and logogenesis is what you get when you are reading
> > Zaza's article (and when you are reading this post).
> >
> > David Kellogg
> > Macquarie University