Re: [xmca] B.V. Belyayev

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at>
Date: Wed Apr 11 2007 - 17:13:03 PDT

Certainly sounds worth digging into more, David. I have written to one of
the Russian colleagues Anton suggested to see if we could get Russian
versions of the text (are 1959 and 61 the
same? I was going from the Russian website?).

We badly need the Russian text in this case because from the translation it
is completely unclear to me what the Russian words are for
teaching-education and instruction. If
we can get the Russian texts, perhaps we can sort things out.

I have questions about what it means for the mediation link of translation
to be removed. How does this occur? In children who are raised bilingual
from birth? Or who have achieved some
identifiable level of bilingual/culturalism?

Do you have a reference to Vygotsky's work in Uzbekistan? I have only read
that he was there but not seen what he wrote and argued about it. (I am
especially interested in the issue of how one establishes functional
equivalence across contexts, when, whatever one's understanding of context,
culture and language variations are simultaneously involved). Its an issue I
have struggled with, never to my satisfaction, for a long time.


On 4/11/07, David Kellogg <> wrote:
> Belyayev (Belaev?) did publish between 1940 and 1961. His book "The
> Psychology of Teaching Foreign Languages" was published as a series of
> essays in Russian by the State Educational Publishing House of the Ministry
> of Education of the RSFSR in 1959. Here are some snippets from the English
> version (1963):
> (p. 2) "It is possible and ncessary to distinguish two basic aspects of
> teaching--education and instruction. In practice neither exists without the
> other. When giving instruction the teacher is simultaneously educating and
> vice versa. In practice education and instruction form an organic unity, but
> education and instruction must be distinguished theoretically. Education
> must be understood as sassisting the development of the pupils while
> instruction consists of enriching them with theoretical knowledge and with
> practical skills and abilities.
> "A teacher can only educate his pupils successfully and
> correctly--i.e. assist the development of their intelligence and feelings,
> will and character--if he knows what intellgence and feelings, will and
> character are and if he knows precisely what stages the pupils pass through
> in their psychological development." (p. 3)
> p. 28: "A person's speech (i.e. the actual use of language in order to
> communicate cannot possibly understood as a habit (...) Speech habits do of
> course exist, but a person's speech is never subsumed by these habits being
> always a conscious and creative activity."
> The reason I find this a more INCISIVE critique than Chomsky's famous
> review of Verbal Behavior is that Chomsky does not (and cannot) include
> consciousness as an element in creativity, which he holds is really a
> function of our biological endowment.
> But for Vygotskyans consciousness and cultural transmission (the other
> essential factor in accounting for the complexity of grammatical structure)
> are essentially the same phenomenon viewed from two different angles, the
> one psychological and the other historical.
> p. 49:
> "Are any psychological changes involved in the use of a foreign language
> in place of the native language? This question has great theoretical and
> practical importance. It has a close connection with the psychological
> analysis of thought and speech, which cannot yet be considered to have been
> conducted sufficiently widely and deeply. And in its practical implications
> the question is closely linked with the problem of how to teach languages.
> "In investigating the psychology of thinking in a foreign language we
> take it as a principle that language and thought are directly linked to each
> other and form an indissoluble whole. This gives an interesting slant to the
> question whether a person's thinking has the same character when he uses a
> foreign language as when he uses his own, or whether it is somehow
> modified."
> Belyayev then undertakes a discussion of whether concepts exist in the
> external world very similar to what Martin and I were doing not too long
> ago. He decides that only concepts at the extreme end of "object
> relatedness" are independent of mediated pychological processes and there
> are no "external" concepts.
> But he argues on the basis of a word association experiment he argues
> that logical operations such as association and generalization are
> independent of language once the mediating link of translation to the native
> language have been removed; they exist in all languages, and are equally
> accessible through education.
> This is a very strongly egalitarian and anti-relativist position,
> similar to what Vygotsky and Luria were arguing in their Uzbek work. (He is
> not arguing that languages are functionally equivalent in context; he is
> arguing for their functional equivalence across contexts!)
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
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Received on Wed Apr 11 18:15 PDT 2007

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