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-
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
the dynamic the same?
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
On Behalf Of Jay Lemke
Sent: Sunday, September 27, 2009 11:26 PM
To: email@example.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?
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
context of the discussion of learning sciences and vygotsky just to
in the bounds of time constraints-- have you read that discussion?
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
develop more quickly (see xmca discussion of brain and
linkages to no-child-left behind. Seems a long way from Kharkov in
1930's, or 1990's, or the recent (to the NYTimes) discovery of
Sun, Sep 27, 2009 at 9:15 AM, Ageliki Nicolopoulou <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Can you explain a bit what you mean by re-framing and why you see
it as an
issue of re-framing?
Department of Psychology, Lehigh University
17 Memorial Drive East
Bethlehem, PA 18015-3068
Departmental Webpage: http://www.lehigh.edu/~inpsy/
mike cole wrote:
Thanks Peter-- I was just about to forward this story. Apart from
considerable intrinsic interest to members of this group, it seems
to the prior discussion the origins of learning sciences and the
which re-framing can operate to change the terms of discourse.
On Sun, Sep 27, 2009 at 7:36 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <email@example.com>
September 27, 2009 The NY Times Magazine Section
The School Issue: Preschool
Can the Right Kinds of Play Teach Self-Control?
By PAUL TOUGH
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