Re: [xmca] Sumerian school pic

From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at>
Date: Thu Dec 11 2008 - 08:20:38 PST


don't your observations about formal schooling support my
claims about the necessity of social transformation as a prerequisite
for realizing the promise of the Vytogtsky/AT/CHAT tradition?  Will
changing classroom design accomplish that?

Of course it's
another question as to how that social change towards what Engestrom
called "humanistic" in LBE will come about.  Perhaps this first truly
global crisis of the capitalist system will lead toward the kind of
transformation Marx envisioned as happening within capitalist nations
where the effect of the economic crises was always mitigated through
those nations' imperialist relations to 3rd world countries.

This morning I  heard a news story on BBC about a new UNICEF report evaluating early child development
and welfare.  Using 10 indicators they evaluated "developed"
countries.  It turns out that the countries with the highest taxes (all
Scandinavian countries but also France) scored the highest -- .  The
conclusion I draw, thinking of the recent presidential campaign, is
"Yes, paying higher taxes is patriotic."  Mike Moore's moie "Sicko"
made this very clear as well.

I looked on the UNICEF website but couldn't find the referenced document so I can't say where Cuba or the US came out on these indicators,  but I will keep looking. 


--- On Thu, 12/11/08, Mike Cole <> wrote:
From: Mike Cole <>
Subject: Re: [xmca] Sumerian school pic
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
Date: Thursday, December 11, 2008, 6:38 AM

Its important to note that ideology of schooling/virtue/intelligence/class
that went with the first schools are ALSO
still with us today.

What school of education in the world studies schooling starting from the
empirical fact that formal schooling since its
origins (in the West at least, perhaps David K can fill us in on China,
Korea, ....) have been modes of state domination,
class exacerbation and exploitation and most crucially, that FAILURE IS A
FORMAL SCHOOLING.... it is not a mistake, negligence, etc.

The, and only then, can a disucssion of school "re-form" that
includes state
re-form and political economic re-form have
a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding. No school of ed i know of starts
from this germ cell.


On Thu, Dec 11, 2008 at 3:35 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <> wrote:

> Great stuff Andy, thanks for sharing. I used the attached picture from my
> Aunt Alice's Brooklyn elementary school classroom on the cover of The
> Discourse of Character Education. From the early 1920s.
> Peter, when I worked as Teaching Space Coordinator at
> Melbourne University, I collected the following set:
> from Sumeria to 1979, and for now:
> Andy
> Peter Smagorinsky wrote:
> > I first saw Mike use the Sumerian classroom slide a few years ago at
> > conference in Miami, and he has been kind enough to share it.
I've used
> it
> > several times to make the point that Mike originally made: that the
> > traditions of schooling run very deep. I used it at ISCAR, and the
> for
> > the talk included the observation that while desks are no longer made
> > stone and rarely are bolted to the floor anymore, they still tend to
> in
> > the same formation as they did 6,000 years ago. The irony: In the
> > classroom in which I gave the talk, the seats were indeed bolted to
> > floor.
> >
> > To give a sense of just how old the Sumerian classroom is, I put
> > the following. It still boggles my mind:
> >
> > In his consideration of the developmental consequences of education,
> > (2005) takes a cross-cultural and historical perspective that leads
> back
> > to the earliest classrooms of Indo-European civilization. Based on
> > arrangement of a Sumerian classroom from roughly 4,000 BCE, he
> that
> > the last 6,000 years have seen great continuity in educational
> in
> a
> > number of regards (see Figure 1.1; reprinted from Cole, 2005, p.
200). As
> > the photograph reveals, students sat in rows-here, fixed in
> stone-possibly
> > chiseling notes in a proto-cuneiform script and undoubtedly facing
> > teacher. This template, in spite of other developments in teaching
> practice,
> > has served to guide instruction in most Western educational settings
> > (at least) the Uruk period of Sumerian civilization through the
> > ________________________
> > Place Figure 1.1 about here
> > ________________________
> > This classroom was built toward the end of the Stone Age, as the
> Neolithic
> > Period was about to give way to the Bronze Age. Students occupied its
> seats
> > 1,400 years before the legendary King Gilgamesh is believed to have
> > the land; 2,300 years before Hammurabi founded the city of Babylon
> wrote
> > the first code of law; and 3,400 years before Nebuchadnezzar II is
> believed
> > to have built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. It is as old as the
idea of
> > formal teaching and learning in the history of human social life.
> >
> > (this is from the first draft of a book chapter I'm developing,
so please
> > reference to this message if you borrow the phrasing)
> >
> > Sorry I forgot to attach this to message in response to Paul.
> > The earliest known classroom in the "western" world.
> > mike
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > xmca mailing list
> >
> >
> >
> --
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Andy Blunden
<>+61 3 9380 9435
> Skype andy.blunden
> Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
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