RE: [xmca] Socio-Cultural Theory Interest Group Seminar Series

From: bb (
Date: Thu Sep 28 2006 - 12:20:15 PDT

Thank you Julian. I'll see if I can get a copy later this week when I have access to a real research library. But, in the interim I'm left wondering how it hapens that learning scientific concepts coincides, through the onset of schooling, with what many complain about -- the isolation and decontextualization of school learning.


 -------------- Original message ----------------------
From: "Julian Williams" <>
> Dear BB
> The distinction I thought relevant at the meeting was between 'everyday' and
> 'scientific', the latter being mostly associated with school-going/pedagogy. The
> story telling in the family home seems to me 'everyday' and the attendant
> scientific structure an imposition of the authors. It seemed to me that the Ochs
> paper misses Vygotsky's (Marx's?) notion of 'scientific', being something
> approached by the best thinking that human culture has to offer.
> (I think you might need sight of the first few pages of the paper to make sense
> of this...?)
> Julian
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On Behalf
> Of bb
> Sent: 28 September 2006 18:07
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: RE: [xmca] Socio-Cultural Theory Interest Group Seminar Series
> Interesting notes, especially around storytelling and the zpd, the latter ever
> so elusive in our last x-discussion of it. I'm really wondering about the
> relationships between and among concepts, explanation, language, theories and
> their constructions. What do we mean by "learning a concept' in activity
> theory and how is that different from "learning language" or "learning to
> speak"?
> I could not access the ochs paper, but at least found the abstract:
> The present study examines the activity of storytelling at dinnertime in
> English-speaking, Caucasian-American families. Our findings demonstrate that,
> through the process of story co-narration, family members draw upon and
> stimulate critical social , cognitive, and linguistic skills that underlie
> scientific and other scholarly discourse as they jointly construct, deconstruct,
> and reconstruct theories of everyday events. Each story is potentially a theory
> of a set of events in that it contains an ex planation, which may then be
> overtly challenged and reworked by co-narrators. Our data suggest that complex
> theory-building through storytelling is promoted by (and constitutive of)
> interlocutors' familiarity with one another and/or the narrative events. As
> such, long before children enter a classroom, everyday storytelling among
> familiars constitutes a commonplace medium for socializing perspective-taking,
> critical thinking, and other intellectual skills that have been viewed as o
> utcome s of formal scho oling. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR
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