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[Xmca-l] Re: studies of feedback on student writing?
- To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: studies of feedback on student writing?
- From: Greg Thompson <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2017 09:08:41 -0600
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I find your suggestions for writing feedback as dialogue (and as "writing
itself") to be a really fantastic idea.
My question is: How to accomplish your task in a world in which education
and indeed knowledge have been thoroughly capital-ized?
How to fit this into the educational system of today in which not only do
universities treat students as so many widgets to put out, but students see
often see themselves (or, at least, their "skills" and "knowledge") in
precisely this same way?
My anthropology students regularly tell me of the interrogations that they
endure with friends and family who ask them "But how can you make money
with an anthropology degree?" I'm unsure whether to tell my students that
there are a million ways to make money with an anthropology degree or
whether I should tell them to respond with "That's a stupid question" and
to go on to interrogate the grounds of the question. The former is more
practical, the latter is more revealing.
Shirin, I'm wondering if you are encountering this sort of thing? And if
so, how might you "sell" such an alternative pedagogy to a capital-ized
university and its students?
Just for a little more context, I regularly have conversations with a
colleague in my department who was, for the past two years, tasked with
leading our students in the final write-up stage of their theses. He found
that they were often uninterested in feedback-as-dialogue. Rather, the vast
majority were interested in feedback as a way of telling them how to get
the grade that they wanted. He was incredibly thoughtful and thorough in
his comments and feedback but the students tended to ignore this feedback
unless it had teeth (i.e. was directly connected with grades).
I am in a culturally peculiar context, but I'm not sure exactly how
peculiar. Shirin, do you encounter this same kind of thing at Northwestern?
(or other places you have taught?).
Perhaps you have some writing on this somewhere?
On Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 8:32 AM, Shirin Vossoughi <firstname.lastname@example.org
> Thank you for these David, very interesting. I sympathize with many of your
> comments and am drawn to the moments when the more complex and dialectical
> understandings of the ZPD become a meaningful tool for mediation and
> Your thoughts on the term "feedback" also got me thinking about the
> ideological baggage that term may carry so thank you for that. What I'm
> after these days is a way to understand the specific qualities of
> educators' written commentary on student writing that support shifts
> towards more expansive relationships with writing, ideas, self and world.
> feedback as dialogue, in a sense. but also as writing in itself.
> On Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 5:44 PM, David Kellogg <email@example.com>
> > Dear Shirin:
> > I'm currently writing a rather tiresome article on the distortions of
> > Vygotsky's ideas we find in Lantolf, Thorne, and "sociocultural theory"
> > generally. I won't bore you with the details: the gist is that the "zone
> > proximal development" was never designed to be tautological: Vygotsky did
> > not think that the "next zone" was defined by being able to do tasks, and
> > being able to do tasks was how you knew that the child was ready for the
> > next zone of development (i.e. "the child is ready to learn whatever the
> > child is ready to learn"). It was based on a serious study of child
> > development and an attempt to establish age periods that were immanent to
> > the process of development itself (i.e. defined by the pace of
> > development--crises and stable periods--but relatable to the fruits of
> > development--as observable in language and verbal thinking).
> > But inevitably part of what I have to do is to take out the garbage that
> > has accrued around Vygotsky's name, to show how sociocultural theory
> > popularized Vygotsky by reducing all his ideas into extant "best
> > practices". At the time (the early nineties in second language writing
> > instruction) best practices were starting to move away from whole
> > ideas based on providing the young writer with a "print rich environment"
> > and plentiful "input" towards more social-behaviorist notions of "focus
> > form" and "corrective feedback". The theoretical rationale was that the
> > former approach had been "cognitivist" whle the latter was
> > because it involved interaction between minds which was then
> > within the learner's mind.
> > Here are some key articles from Lantolfian "sociocultural theory" which
> > this:
> > Aljaafreh, A. & Lantolf, J.P. (1994). Negative feedback as regulation and
> > second language learning in the zone of proximal development. Modern
> > Language Journal, 78, 465-483.
> > De Guerrero, M.C.M. & Villamil, O.S. (2000). Activating the ZPD: Mutual
> > scaffolding in L2 peer revision. Modern Language Journal, 84, 51-68.
> > Poehner, M.E. (2012). The zone of proximal development and the genesis of
> > self-assessment. Modern Language Journal, 96 (4) 610-622.
> > Poehner, M.E. & Lantolf, J.P. (2010). Vygotsky’s teaching-assessment
> > dialectic and L2 education: The case for Dynamic Assessment. Mind,
> > and Activity, 17 (4) 312-330.
> > Poehner, M.E. and Lantolf, J.P. (2013). Bringing the ZPD into the
> > Capturing L2 development during Computerized Dynamic Assessment (C-DA).
> > Language Teaching Research, 17 (3) 323-342.
> > Needless to say, I don't recommend any of these. Don't get me wrong: I
> > am an agitator and not a propagandist; I want a few simple ideas I can
> > give to lots of teachers rather than a whole complex system that can only
> > be mastered by a few. Like you, I firmly I believe that it is possible to
> > popularize without vulgarizing, and I even think the demotic forms of
> > theory are the most democratic and ultimately the most profound.
> > I too have a strong sympathy for the teacher training approach that
> > analyzes best practices and tries to abstract best principles, and then
> > shows how these are perfectly compatible with high theory. I even think
> > that at some point it is useful to try to show teachers that they were
> > "unconscious" Vygotskyans all the long.
> > But this stuff isn't that. It's just bait and switch: The zone of
> > development was not and never will be a form of corrective feedback, and
> > the very word "feedback" suggests the behaviorist theory that it really
> > belongs to.
> > David Kellogg
> > Macquarie University
> > On Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 3:46 AM, Shirley Franklin <
> > firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > > I know people in this project have done research on feedback on
> > > writing.
> > > Also, we discussed people's work on this in the Academic Literacies
> > > Forum in the Institute of Education in London. Brian Street, who sadly
> > > died recently, had a lot to say about it.
> > >
> > > http://www.thinkingwriting.qmul.ac.uk/
> > >
> > > Shirley
> > > Sent from my iPad
> > >
> > > On 27 Jul 2017, at 19:00, Shirin Vossoughi <email@example.com>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Dear all,
> > > > I am writing to ask if anyone might have suggestions for CHAT or
> > > > socio-cultural studies of written feedback on student writing?
> > > > Thank you,
> > > > Shirin
> > >
> > >
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602