RE: [xmca] Sumerian school pic

From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at>
Date: Thu Dec 11 2008 - 12:36:40 PST

why not use an evolutionary time scale related to the development of agriculture, private property, and the state?  I'm looking for one of Guaman Poma's drawing of Inca schools which would only be arond 1450 a.d. on the western linear calendar but potentially matchable in relation to the expansion of field monoculture as opposed to the highly developed system of expanded horticulture.  Just one of those half-baked thoughts.


--- On Thu, 12/11/08, Peter Smagorinsky <> wrote:
From: Peter Smagorinsky <>
Subject: RE: [xmca] Sumerian school pic
To: "'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'" <>
Date: Thursday, December 11, 2008, 12:19 PM

It depends on the correct date. I had 4000BCE but the date at Andy's website
is 2000BCE. Mike, do you know the correct attribution? p

Peter Smagorinsky
The University of Georgia
125 Aderhold Hall
Athens, GA 30602

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of David Preiss
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2008 12:28 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Sumerian school pic

So, Peter, is this formal arrangement previous to the use of writing?
That would be really interesting.

On Dec 11, 2008, at 8:13 AM, Peter Smagorinsky wrote:

> I first saw Mike use the Sumerian classroom slide a few years ago at a
> 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 several times to make the point that Mike originally made: that the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
> text for
> the talk included the observation that while desks are no longer
> made of
> stone and rarely are bolted to the floor anymore, they still tend to
> sit in
> the same formation as they did 6,000 years ago. The irony: In the USCD
> classroom in which I gave the talk, the seats were indeed bolted to
> the
> floor.
> To give a sense of just how old the Sumerian classroom is, I put
> together
> the following. It still boggles my mind:
> In his consideration of the developmental consequences of education,
> Cole
> (2005) takes a cross-cultural and historical perspective that leads
> him back
> to the earliest classrooms of Indo-European civilization. Based on the
> arrangement of a Sumerian classroom from roughly 4,000 BCE, he
> surmises that
> the last 6,000 years have seen great continuity in educational
> practice 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 the
> teacher. This template, in spite of other developments in teaching
> practice,
> has served to guide instruction in most Western educational settings
> from
> (at least) the Uruk period of Sumerian civilization through the
> present.
> ________________________
> 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
> ruled
> the land; 2,300 years before Hammurabi founded the city of Babylon
> and 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

David Preiss, Ph.D.
Subdirector de Extensión y Comunicaciones
Escuela de Psicología
Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Av Vicuña Mackenna - 4860
7820436 Macul
Santiago, Chile

Fono: 3544605
Fax: 3544844
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Received on Thu Dec 11 12:38:09 2008

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