RE: [xmca] chat analysis of ritual

From: Elina Lampert-Shepel (
Date: Sat Mar 18 2006 - 22:20:20 PST

Mike et al,

I believe that the question of 31 students to 1 teacher is important
as it leads us to the discussion of what is joined, what is shared,
what is created, what is constructed... in joint activity.

One of the possible answers was offered in the 1960-1970s by the
theory of Learning Activity. We do not really talk much about
Learning Activity, but it was a separate area of research in Russia
and Davydov and Elkonin were among those who contributed to the
theory and practice of Learning Activity. One of the researchers,
Dusavitskiy,argued that in the classrooms with Elkonin-Davydov's
curriculum, the agent of learning activity initially was a group of
6-7 students.El'konin - Davydov's math curriculum was translated
into English and piloted in Hoboken and Newark, NJ challenging
public school environments by Gail Richardson (see

I think that meanings and forms of intersubjuctivity in joint
activity depend also on the nature of the epistemological
perspective of the teacher. If, as in El'konin-Davydov curriculum
the effort was to create an opportunity for children to develop
theoretical thinking, that was considered to be in zpd, then it
required a specific type of inquiry in the classroom. There was a
lot of room for the creativity of both teachers and students, but
the epistemeological context of theoretical concept required
specific forms of intersubjuctivity and types of activity.

If you are interested in exploring Learning Activity Theory, see
Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, September-October,
2003/Vol.41, No.5.


Quoting Bremme Don <>:

> Worthwhile approach to distill principles or defining features
> from examples.
> I nominate the following as an example
> o Moll, L. C. & With nore, K. F. (1993). “Vygotsky in Classroom
> Practice: Moving from Individual Transmission to Social
> Transaction,” in E. A. Forman, N. Minick, and C. A. Stone (Eds.),
> Contexts for Learning: Sociocultural Dynamics in Children's
> Development (pp. 19-42). New York: Oxford University Press.
> don
> -----Original Message-----
> From: on behalf of Mike Cole
> Sent: Sat 3/18/2006 6:54 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] chat analysis of ritual
> I agree bb.
> but I was also (in a pretty deep state of ignorance) suggesting
> seriously
> that perhaps if we
> gathered a bunch of "existence proofs" we might be able to figure
> things out
> a little better.
> For example, it is my impression, probaby not well grounded, that
> it is
> easier at earlier grades
> to create zoped/embodying classrooms. But at the same time, older
> kids/classrooms provide
> somewhat different affordances for doing this (excuse me whoever
> is
> objecting to using affordances
> with respect to culturally organized activities!).
> So, I have set in motion a tiny effort at lchc to create on xmca
> a special
> section about zopeds in classrooms
> where we could gather lots of different putative examples and try
> to figure
> out if we can agree on some key
> features of when it is possible and why it is often not.
> mike
> (two more days to go before I get real breathing room, but now a
> little)
> On 3/18/06, bb <> wrote:
> >
> > Yes, exactly what i was thinking. What Gordon Wells offers for
> a scanned
> > chapter is most likely the best to set the stage for a rich
> discussion.
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > xmca mailing list
> >
> >
> >
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Elina Lampert-Shepel
Assistant Professor
Graduate School of Education
Mercy College New Teacher Residency Program
Mercy College
66 West 35th Street
New York, NY 10001
(212) 615 3367

I have on my table a violin string. It is free. I twist one end of
it and it responds. It is free. But it is not free to do what a
violin string is supposed to do - to produce music. So I take it,
fix it in my violin and tighten it until it is taut. Only then it
is free to be a violin string.
               Sir Rabindranath Tagore.

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