Re: Self-Determination theory versus SCT and AT

From: Jim Rogers (
Date: Fri Feb 11 2005 - 10:31:33 PST


thanks for the thoughtful reply- sorry that I didn't respond sooner but
it's been a hectic week. I think we are more or less on the same page-
it was just your comment about parts of the context "not being part of
the individual" that caught my attention. But I still wonder - and this
is not necessarily a question- at what point even your examples of
"affordances" actually become part of the individual, e.g. when I am
working at home I am in a mode where I expect interruptions from my
children. That is certainly different from when I am at work.. and even
there, working at night is different from working during the day where
students and colleagues drop in. I guess my basic question would be is
there an ontological separation between physical tools with their
affordances and the individual? My own perspective is that these tools
become who we are and how we interact with the world around us so 'in
use' there has to be a singular ontological entity.

I think (or at least I agree at this point in time ;) you are on the
right track thinking about the embeddedness of multiple activities (and
histories) in any one activity. Have you seen Falk Seeger's article,
"The complementarity of theory and praxis in the cultural-historical
approach: From self-application to self-regulation" (In Chaiklin (2001),
"The theory and Practice of Cultural Historical Psychology")? In this
article he talks about how activity systems mediate our activity (he has
pictures of triangles on top of triangles)- this has reminded me to go
back and reread it myself.

And I wonder what others think about this...


Lara Beaty wrote:

> Jim,
> I have a very inclusive notion of "context." It includes histories,
> ideologies, material environments, and activities. Where and how
> students participate in an online course is important: If the computer
> is in their own home with affordances for privacy and time, it is very
> different than if a person must share a computer, work with regular
> interruptions, or use the computer at work or at a library. All of
> these locations will change the activity as well as its meaning. In
> terms of "why" (a word I usually try to avoid), I was thinking
> particularly about whether the course is necessary for a job, is being
> paid for by a job, or is necessary for a certificate or degree. The
> basic question for me is to see how a student's activity is multiply
> embedded.
> In some senses it does relate to the article for discussion (which I
> haven't finished yet). I see identity and self as being about
> relationships. A student who experiences being part of the class will
> have a very different experience than a student who does not. I'm
> still working it out, but looking at the connections between people,
> activities, places, artifacts, and times provides a complex system of
> meanings but one set in the concrete.
> I hope that makes sense.
> Lara
> On Monday, February 7, 2005, at 06:15 PM, Jim Rogers wrote:
>> lara,
>> I'd love to hear more about what you are thinking re: contexts
>>> . What works is to examine the contexts and the histories of the
>>> people involved.
>>> Rodrigo began with an insightful description of possible contexts of
>>> online learning for students but concluded by stressing the
>>> individual. Perhaps SDT has something to offer, but everything from
>>> WHERE students have access to a computer to why they chose an online
>>> course are important parts of the context and not parts of the
>>> individual. I agree that Holland's work is useful, more useful than
>>> SDT.
>> when I think about the examples you provide above: 1) where students
>> have access- I could conceivably see this as related to their
>> identity (e.g. traditional student, stay at home dad, disabled
>> etc..). and 2) why they chose an online class (e.g. convenience,
>> perception it would be easier, interest) could also be related to
>> identity. So in your view, in what ways would these examples NOT be
>> part of the individual and, more importantly for me, what is the
>> importance of these examples as context in influencing their
>> activity. Was there a context in the example you provided with your
>> children - again there I saw and thought of a definition of
>> community- you and your child- as being the totality of your
>> interrelationships with each other. And I do not hold the position
>> that there is no context- I am hoping you can expand that understanding.
>> I hope this doesn't take the discussion too far off the mark.
>> jim


Jim Rogers Associate Professor Utah State University Logan, UT. 84322-0715 t: 435.797.3910 f: 435.797.4050

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