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RE: [xmca] Mediation and a teacher's resignation

Sorry, all. I meant I agreed with Martin, not Andy. Too much reading today.


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
Behalf Of Martin Packer
Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2009 4:31 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Mediation and a teacher's resignation

Hi Greg,

I do think that 'mediated' is the appropriate term.  I was conducting  
field work in a school district when a precursor to NCLB was  
implemented at the state level. At the same time local reforms were  
being encouraged and the NSF state-systemic initiative was involved  
too. These reforms truly had a dramatic impact 'inside' the classroom  
- which is actually not self-enclosed at all. Tests, for example, are  
conducted within the four walls, but the scores are reported in the  
newspaper, are read as indicators of 'efficiency' by administrators  
and legislators, etc.

I see this as mediation because all the machinery of something like  
NCLB enters into the interaction between teacher and students - comes  
'between' them.

I can say more if you're interested, and when I have more time.


On Jul 16, 2009, at 4:53 PM, Gregory Alan Thompson wrote:

> I'm currently putting together an AERA panel on the meaning of
> "context" and the mediating power of contexts and one of the
> panelists is doing a paper on how national public policies
> (esp. NCLB) mediate teacher-student relationships at the very
> local level.
> In light of this, I was wondering about the question of
> "mediation" that is raised by Kim's earlier post with the
> letter about the teacher's resignation -- in particular, in
> what ways was (in this case) the teacher's relationship to her
> students mediated by NCLB policies. (and this makes me wonder
> whether it would be enough to use the weaker term "affected"
> as opposed to the stronger term "mediated" - for those
> mediationalists on the listserve, how can we disambiguate
> these terms: "mediate" vs. "affect"?).
> In looking through the letter, I was able to point to only a
> few places that made the strong argument for how NCLB was
> mediating (or even "affecting") the teacher's relationship
> with her students. One was where the teacher notes that her
> class didn't work because it was not "in compliance" with the
> scheduling. Another was that they could no longer enforce a
> "no tolerance" policy (I'm not familiar enough with NCLB to
> know if this was part it, although it is clearly implied).
> So I'm curious if there were other ways in which this
> teacher's relationships with students (and with her principal
> and/or other teachers) would have been mediated by NCLB? A big
> part of my question stems from my own ignorance of NCLB and
> the implementation of it - a knowledge which the teacher seems
> to assume her audience has (and one would hope that Arne and
> others at his office had this knowledge). Nonetheless, it
> seems important to consider how these high level public
> policies mediate (affect? constrain/enable?) relationships at
> the lowest levels.
> As a first time XMCA poster, I'm curious to hear your ideas. I
> should note that I'm not a policy thinker, I do close-in
> analyses of learning interactions, but it is hard to ignore
> how the outsides are also inside of these interactions (an
> antinomy that is resolved by an understanding of the mediating
> power of social contexts?).
> -greg
> ---------------------------------------
> Greg Thompson
> Ph.D. Candidate
> The Department of Comparative Human Development
> The University of Chicago
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca

Martin Packer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Psychology Department
Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA 15282
(412) 396-4852


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