Re: [xmca] chat analysis of ritual

From: zdravo (zdravo@EUnet.yu)
Date: Wed Mar 22 2006 - 11:48:40 PST

Dear Lois, Carrie, and All,

I follow your conversations and find it very interesting and challenging.

At the moment the conversation regarding zpd (zoped) issue encouraged my

I highly appreciate your constructive and developmental efforts centered at
schools and subjects,

but wish to say that there is learning for development that takes place in

many different social and cultural spaces, under different and difficult
life circumstances.

Lois said that there are, hundreds, if not thousands, of alternatives and I
feel free to continue that

if we look at alternatives as the process of social building, the number is

ZPD is in everyday life, learning activity is more universal than learning
within school systems,

traditional or alternative. We argue that the totality of social field
deserves to be considered,

 it is "undiscovered treasure" for being and becoming.

Undiscovered treasure are words of young refugee boy said

after workshop involving 80 participants of all generations.

There were 80 zpd creators and 80 teachers/students in learning activity.

We have learnt that the teacher - student positions should not be fixed in

thus all participants could change positions. There are activities
organized by experts

in which ordinary people are sometimes head-high above experts

and the child is sometimes head-high above all.

The big group does not have to be constraint for learning activity,

but quite contrary sometimes. Yes, and more often than we expect.

I was glad to hear Carrie's voice.

I will add some lines to what I have already said before, regarding our work
with refugee children.

The life of these children and their families was interrupted by war,

and when they arrived in Serbia they were accommodated at collective centers
for refugees.

We have met them just after they left areas of armed conflicts.

What are you expected and supposed to do when you are for the first time

with 50 or 70 children, who are there after have been invited

to come and do something together? What feelings, thoughts, ideas and

are in your mind under such circumstances?

The first and only thought is to be and stay there where you are

and do something together with all of them. As simple as that.

The optimal size of the group, ages or grades of children etc. lost the

We tried to build activity on the spot: to give a chance to everybody to say
personal name,

to involve them through play... And then we realized that they could not

and some of them said: Help us. It may sound pathetic but this is as it

Socio/cultural approach of Lev Vygotsky and his theory of play, was the
crucial source

of common building play like activities, that brought together all

and burst of creativity occurred. His theory was the only theory that

cared primarily for people, (not individual), for children (not individual

This was/is our view. Consequently our workshop programme

was/is not structured in advance, each new workshop has been built on the
previous one.

Here is one episode of children's performance after one of workshop
activities -

the play created and performed by children in March 1993.

Play "Let the Roses Flourish"

Duration: 17 minutes

Place: Collective center Pionirski grad in Belgrade

Actors: 5 refugee girls aged 5 to 9 in roles of adults, a child, and roses.

Two girls played the parts of adults, the youngest girl was the child,

and four girls took the role of roses.

The play was not fully prepared in advance. Only the initial phase of the
play was structured:

the main idea was globally defined and roles divided up.

The play was a fluid process created jointly through acting.

The male, female, and child roles were recognizable through the play.

The roles of the roses were the original and joint creation of children.

The male's destructive behaviour always made the roses fall down.

Whenever roses fell down the female started to raise them up by singing
"Flourish Roses".

 Her voice was gentle and her approaching movements gracious and protective.

The roses responded consistently by rising up in slow motions. The roses
were highly responsive to

the interactions between the adults, and reacted consistently

to the male destructive behaviour and to female protective patterns.

The episode of falling down and rising up was replicated 16 times in
17-minute play.

 The roses never got up by themselves, and when they reached the upright

they could not retain it on their own. It was obvious that they needed
constant support.

They fell whenever the male approached, but they never manifested an active

 to his severe attacks. They lay on the ground and did not move or try to

but they responded consistently and promptly to the supporting efforts of
the female adult.

In our opinion in this play the children did something that was beyond

We believe that this demonstrates their capacity to respond to severe life

caused by war circumstances.

Today, 22. of March 2006, I only want to you to pay attention of the date
of this event,

it took place 13 years ago. Now, our programme initiated in collective

entered public schools in Serbia and at the same time it is still going in
collective centers.

Lois, I agree that developmental activities are measurement-resistant,

but the social plus time extension might be a measure, what do you think?



----- Original Message -----
From: "Lois Holzman" <>
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity, "
Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2006 8:01 PM
Subject: Re: [xmca] chat analysis of ritual

> It's been about 24 hours and many informative and inspiring posts since
> this
> exchange. I couldn't agree more about both existence proofs and spreading
> the virus. It seems to me that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of
> alternatives that work, some of which people here have created and/or
> researched and some of them even in public schools. Where and how to
> spread
> the virus? Who will listen and why? I began my book Schools for Growth by
> telling how this NYC Board of Ed official spent a few hours at our Barbara
> Taylor School, told us what we were doing was a miracle and we never heard
> from him again. I bet most people here have similar experiences. We don't
> believe in miracles, have some ideas about how come certain things work
> and
> others don't, and believe that the reasons in part have to do with
> assumptions and attitudes about learning and teaching and development (and
> some other things). Even with existence proof that moves them, educational
> administrators and policy makers do not move. I think spreading the virus
> has to involve finding those people who will and do move. In our
> experience
> with both the All Stars Project's outside-of-school programs and the
> Institute's educational work with teachers and other school personnel,
> it's
> been mostly people who are not institutionally tied to the educational
> system or to educational policy that move with us. We've found ordinary
> individuals and business people to be excellent partners < both eager to
> engage their and the culture's assumptions and to learn and participate
> and
> to give support. It's modest and it's only a step in the process of
> impacting on what goes on in the tens of thousands of schools across the
> country.
> Lois
>> From: "Mike Cole" <>
>> Reply-To:, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
>> <>
>> Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2006 12:16:09 -0800
>> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
>> Subject: Re: [xmca] chat analysis of ritual
>> Sure Lois, take us along this path because it seems to me one of the
>> important ways to go, if not the
>> only way. But 31 potential contributors are likely be brownian motion
>> that
>> get the teacher fired if they
>> are not organized in some way(s). What ways? Which will work in what
>> insitutions?
>> The 30:1 transmission classroom template has been there for about 6000
>> years
>> by my rough calculation.
>> We can, and should, argue that it is a great way to create
>> power.knowledgedifferentials and stunt development.
>> But we also have to provide alternatives that work and then alternatives
>> that work in publically viable settings.....
>> like ps2 or whatever in NYC or most any school in San Diego.
>> I just left a setting in the community where kids between the ages of 2
>> and
>> 15 and undergrads and a couple of
>> community adults and three visitors from Japan and a couple of others who
>> think of themselves as associated
>> with UCSD were busy co-creating development. Existence proofs are
>> important.
>> Spreading that "virus" seems
>> equally important.
>> Andalee!
>> mike
>> On 3/18/06, Lois Holzman <> wrote:
>>> What if the teacher is not working one on thirty, though? There are,
>>> after
>>> all, 31 zoped creators in this situation, 31 contributors to creating an
>>> environment in which the teacher (along with others) can facilitate
>>> everyone's learning. Can we see the teacher's work as supporting that
>>> activity?
>>> Lois
>>>> From: "Mike Cole" <>
>>>> Reply-To:, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
>>>> <>
>>>> Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2006 08:45:20 -0800
>>>> To: bb <>
>>>> Cc: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
>>>> Subject: Re: [xmca] chat analysis of ritual
>>>> The whole issue of how a teacher working one on thirty can create
>>> anything
>>>> approximating a zoped
>>>> is worth a lot of discussion.
>>>> mike
>>> _______________________________________________
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