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

Thank you for this David.

I agree with what you are saying at many levels.

Unfortunately, the kind of assessment I introduced did not have
significant learning components. So the evaluation part of the
assessment is not giving me much data about microgenesis but about
ontogenesis. The "outcome" is not the result of the learning component
for sure.

My bet is that the links between L1 and L2 (which allow students to go
beyond sound perception of words) are possible because of development
in high school. More to do with L1 development. Again, the kind of
interventions I am allowed to make in the classroom are very narrow
and the structure and shape of the study programme prevents me from
doing large longitudinal studies.

I agree the notion of DA as it is used in the SLA literature presents
many problems.


On 11 October 2016 at 05:17, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> Arturo:
> 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:
> https://www.marxists.org/russkij/vygotsky/pedologia/lektsii-po-pedologii.pdf
> https://www.marxists.org/russkij/vygotsky/cw/pdf/vol4.pdf
> 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>
> wrote:
>> 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