Re: [xmca] B.V. Belyayev

From: Phil Chappell <philchappell who-is-at>
Date: Wed Apr 11 2007 - 17:43:48 PDT

Mike and David,

I also have a reference to a 1965 work:

B.V. Belyayev, Notes on the Psychology of Language Teaching, 2nd ed.,
Moscow, 1965

On 12/04/2007, at 10:13 AM, Mike Cole wrote:

> 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
> reports
> 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.
> mike
> 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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