Reflection and change in a CHAT/Cultural Psychology paradigm

From: Bill Barowy (
Date: Fri Mar 19 2004 - 10:36:00 PST

All below is IMHO. Opinions, being like belly buttons, sometimes are
odoriferous and other times opiferous. Well, belly buttons are opiferous at
least once in one's life. I'll leave it for you to decide.

I'd like to help you deconstruct constructivism -- it's a great start on how
humans construct understandings and it stands against positivist approaches,
but misses a primary question -- with what do humans construct their
understandings? I think it is just best to plunge into activity theory and
leave an approach that is dangerously close to solipsism behind.

That being the case, teaching practice can be considered one form of activity,
and activity is the unit of analysis -- not change -- because change has to
occur in something substantive, material and ideal, and those things are what
we can point to for a discussion about what has changed.

Reflective practice as compared to non-reflective practice means a change in
the relations among elements as well as the elements, i.e. the ecology, of
activity. For example, mediation changes and occurs more frequently by
tertiary artifiacts in reflective practice as well as a change in what those
tertiary artifacts are. That is to say, teachers spend more time *thinking
about the activity in which they participate* in reflective practice and that
new time spent thinking is mediated by new concepts, which in turn, and in
part, are constructed by more time spent thinking. Hmm.. quite cyclic.
Collaborative reflection, that is, thinking together with other people, is a
change in the division of labor as well -- and one might expect a change in
discourse among those people who are thinking together, because discourse
makes possible collaborative ideation, through the exchange of utterances.

Anyway, just off the cuff, 'cause I happen to be thinking about teaching
practive and change.


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