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

From: Barbara Crossouard (
Date: Fri Sep 29 2006 - 03:08:09 PDT

I very much agree about school being about socialisation Valerie, and
the same can be said about other educational settings, but this
socialisation as you have suggested often remains implicit, rather than
being made explicit, and schooling continues to represent itself as only
involving the acquisition of epistemic knowledge, rather than ways of
being and doing, where learning is a process of becoming, involving
taking up a new subject position and identity.

Harry Daniels has brought together Activity Theory and Bernstein very
usefully I think (and I try to do the same when looking at formative
assessment in my doctoral thesis), where Bernstein sees the teaching of
 the instructional content, as embedded in 'rules of social order',
involving hierarchical power relations in the context and expectations
of conduct, character and manner. These ways of being and doing are
mostly simply assumed however, making educational processes potentially
problematic for those of different social backgrounds for whom the
expectations of conduct and character are far from transparent, and
therefore contributing to the reproduction of dominant cultural values,
at the same time as creating an appearance of equity.

Wish I could have come to your meeting btw!


 Quoting Valerie Farnsworth <>:

> Thank you, Julian, for clarifying the comments made about
> "scientific" and > "everyday". Was Vygotsky talking about scientific
discourse or
> scientific s> torytelling? I'd say that Ochs et al set out to discuss
> storytelli> ng and relate that to scientific storytelling (although
only using
> everyday> narratives to demonstrate this point). >
> Being more familiar with authors influenced by Vygotsky rather than
> Vygotsk> y himself, I latched onto the later comment in our
discussion: the
> differen> ce between school and everyday discourse is the emphasis on
> concep> ts. I find it helpful to think about stories as having at
least two
> dimensi> ons - the narrative content and the form of language used. So, I
> interprete> d this part of our discussion as - the family storytelling is
> different fro> m school storytelling in that the content or function
(ie: language
> has for> m and function dimensions) is different. However, as I think
about it
> now, > this would imply that the function of the home storytelling is
> socialising > and the function of schooling is something else, like
> knowledge. B> ut then, isn't schooling also socialising? We may like
to think that
> school> ing is purely about developing knowledge in key areas, such as
> and sci> ence, but aren't we also actually socialising students in
> ways o> f thinking and valuing particular types of knowledge? So, now
I would
> say t> hat the difference is the explicitness of the functions, where the
> socialis> ing function is almost always implicit and the educational
> of lear> ning scientific storytelling is more explicit. Such educational
> functions a> re not explicit in the everyday stories that Ochs et al
> Valerie
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> [] On B> ehalf Of bb
> Sent: 28 September 2006 20:20
> To:; eXtended Mind, Culture,
> Activity
> Subject: RE: [xmca] Socio-Cultural Theory Interest Group Seminar
> Series
> 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,
> the ons> et of schooling, with what many complain about -- the
isolation and
> deconte> xtualization of school learning.
> bb
> -------------- 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/pedago> gy. 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 t> he 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
> latte> r ever
> > so elusive in our last x-discussion of it. I'm really wondering
> about th> e
> > relationships between and among concepts, explanation, language,
> theories> and
> > their constructions. What do we mean by "learning a concept' in
> activit> y
> > 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 t> hat,
> > through the process of story co-narration, family members draw upon
> and
> > stimulate critical social , cognitive, and linguistic skills that
> underli> e
> > scientific and other scholarly discourse as they jointly construct,
> decon> struct,
> > 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 co> mplex
> > 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-ta> king,
> > 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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> >
> >
> >
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> >
> >
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