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RE: [xmca] Can the Right Kinds of Play Teach Self-Control?

> But there is a world of political difference among controlling
yourself, carrying out commands, and controlling others.

Not to dispute the critical stance of your concerns re self-regulation,
I wonder to what extent the politicization of the issue obscures its
dynamics. Even the wealthy scion inheriting position and power has to
learn to navigate in an existing system "he" (most likely, he) hasn't
created. The rewards for self-control undoubtedly are much greater and
much more readily forthcoming for the prince than the pauper. But isn't
the dynamic the same?

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu]
On Behalf Of Jay Lemke
Sent: Sunday, September 27, 2009 11:26 PM
To: lchcmike@gmail.com; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Can the Right Kinds of Play Teach Self-Control?

As a footnote to my worries about the politics of teaching "self- 
control", and in response to Mike's note about re-framing in cognitive  
psych discourse, a thought or two about "executive function".

There is a value connotation in this term, from "executive" in its  
sense of high-status individual in a managerial role (cf. "Executive  
MBA program" or "Executive Summary" not to mention "Executive  

And it's not so semantically distant from the putative denotative  
meaning of the term: the function of executing decisions. The history  
comes, I believe, from computer programming and computer processor  
design, where the executive function carries out the commands of the  

So there is a sort of root cultural meaning-message here: "it's good  
to be in charge" conflated with "self-control is good". But there is a  
world of political difference among controlling yourself, carrying out  
commands, and controlling others. Or as I argued in my other post,  
learning how to control yourself to act your part in someone else's  

It may be obvious but perhaps still worth noting that there's also a  
difference between the meaning of "self-control" or "self-regulation"  
as the basic and necessary ability to focus your own attention and  
action in order to get something done beyond the single instant vs.  
their meaning as conforming to the norms of behavior set by others. In  
free cooperative or collaborative activity, where group norms are  
agreed and remain subject to challenge by all and to revision, this  
latter difference fades. But how often does that happen in schools? or  
any late capitalist institution?


Jay Lemke
Professor (Adjunct)
Educational Studies
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

On Sep 27, 2009, at 9:22 AM, mike cole wrote:

> I am pushed to get ready for classes monday, Ageliki.
> I would be glad to discuss the issue I referred to as re-framing  
> within the
> context of the discussion of learning sciences and vygotsky just to  
> keep it
> in the bounds of time constraints-- have you read that discussion?  
> Otherwise
> my comments will make no sense.
> Within that context, I might start with executive functioning as a
> "neuroscience term," the discourse on 0-3 and ways to make babies  
> brains
> develop more quickly (see xmca discussion of brain and  
> education),and the
> linkages to no-child-left behind. Seems a long way from Kharkov in  
> the late
> 1930's, or 1990's, or the recent (to the NYTimes) discovery of  
> Vygotsky.
> mike
> Sun, Sep 27, 2009 at 9:15 AM, Ageliki Nicolopoulou <agn3@lehigh.edu>  
> wrote:
>> Hi Mike,
>> Can you explain a bit what you mean by re-framing and why you see  
>> it as an
>> issue of re-framing?
>> Thanks,
>> Ageliki
>> --
>> **********************************************
>> Ageliki Nicolopoulou
>> Professor
>> Department of Psychology, Lehigh University
>> 17 Memorial Drive East
>> Bethlehem, PA  18015-3068
>> Personal Webpage:
>> >
>> Departmental Webpage:  http://www.lehigh.edu/~inpsy/ 
>> nicolopoulou.html<http://www.lehigh.edu/%7Einpsy/nicolopoulou.html>
>> **********************************************
>> mike cole wrote:
>>> Thanks Peter-- I was just about to forward this story. Apart from  
>>> its
>>> considerable intrinsic interest to members of this group, it seems
>>> relevant
>>> to the prior discussion the origins of learning sciences and the  
>>> ways in
>>> which re-framing can operate to change the terms of discourse.
>>> mike
>>> On Sun, Sep 27, 2009 at 7:36 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu>  
>>> wrote:
>>>> September 27, 2009 The NY Times Magazine Section
>>>> The School Issue: Preschool
>>>> Can the Right Kinds of Play Teach Self-Control?

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