Re: [xmca] Discussion on Development

From: bella kotik <bella.kotik who-is-at>
Date: Sun Dec 02 2007 - 08:16:09 PST

On 12/2/07, David Kellogg <> wrote:
> Dear Bella:
> Thanks...again...for your help with the Russian. What was the word that
> the translators rendered as "identity"?



Dear Mike:
> I'm writing a chapter for a book coming out sometime next summer, with the
> somewhat unfortunate title "Child's Play? Second language acquisition and
> the young learner".
> (I'm not very big on the words "second", "acquisition", and "young
> learner", and I don't like the question mark either!)
> I think I want to write about additional language learning as an example
> of what LSV means by "crisis", "restructuring of the whole by the parts" and
> "exchange of central and peripheral functions".
> Take a look at this from the very beginning.
> "If additional language learning is such a risky, uncertain enterprise for
> children, why is Vygotsky such an enthusiastic advocate? The short answer
> lies in his comparison of foreign language learning with the acquisition of
> scientific concepts in schools. Like science concepts, foreign language
> words are built on the most abstract and decontextualized forms offered by
> the first language and create thereby a single zone of proximal development;
> for Vygotsky first language acquisition cannot be fully conscious and
> complete without foreign language learning (1987: 222).
> "But there is evidence that Vygotsky intended this to be only a part of a
> much longer answer. He left behind an uncompleted work on child development,
> in which he describes how, during what we may call non-critical periods of
> development (and he considers that puberty is one of these!), the parts of
> the child¡¯s personality develop quantitatively, bringing about a
> development of the whole. During the ¡°crises¡±, this relationship is
> decisively reversed, and the restructuring of the whole causes qualitative
> changes to come about, reorganizing the various parts.
> "Similarly (or perhaps it is the same thing?), he describes how so-called
> ¡°central¡± functions organize more peripheral ones during the non-critical
> periods, but in critical periods the functions that were peripheral become
> central (1998: 196). The cultural psychologist Michael Cole has asked what
> exactly these ¡°parts¡±, ¡°wholes¡±, and ¡°functions¡± might refer to in
> practice and what kind of evidence might tell us that this critical
> transformation is taking place (2007). This chapter attempts to answer his
> question with the relationship between physical action and meaning making on
> the one hand, and the transition from first language to foreign language
> learning on the other."
> In the conclusion, I come back to you again, like this:
> "Cole (2007) remarks that from the text of Vygotsky¡¯s unfinished book on
> child development, it is not entirely clear whether the exchange of central
> and peripheral functions and the restructuring of the parts by the whole
> refer to the same crisis-laden process or not. But there is certainly one
> sense in which the development of the whole child and the child¡¯s various
> mental functions can be conceptualized as a revolutionary transformation of
> mental functions by one organizing function that introduces itself from
> outside the child and seizes central power and authority. That organizing
> function is volition, and we see it realized in the child¡¯s linguistic
> choices."
> Fair use, or not?
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
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Sincerely yours Bella Kotik-Friedgut
xmca mailing list
Received on Sun Dec 2 08:17 PST 2007

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