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[xmca] Acorns Don't Grow on Trees

I don't agree that I am immature (overripe is the adjective that comes to mind when I look in the mirror) but I think I really do mostly agree with Anton's criticism that the Crocodile article is flawed, poorly grounded, and above all that it tries to do too much. The various parts of it are not well developed and the whole is not well connected or linked (rather like the original story, really). 
There is the kind of historical article which Anton himself excels at (rehashing the dispute between Vygotsky and Chukovsky), and then there is an attempt to recapitulate the unfinished theory of child development that Vygotsky was working on when he died, and then there are some similarly unfinished classroom observations and then, suddenly...
anattempttodistinguishbetweenchildren'sliteratureandchildliteratureandtoprovidearationale for thelatterbasedonitsfictitiousnessanditsvalueasamediatorofthegreatbiomechanicaltragedies: sex, death, and above all hunger. It would have been much better to write an article or even a book on each of these topics in turn, and if anybody has any idea about who might be interested in publishing such a thing, I am all ears. But as Anton says, such an effort must be well grounded. 
What does that mean? Read over Luria's accounts of the attempts to reproduce the work on perception in chickens with children, where the child learns through trial and error that one kind of patterned grey paper covers an acorn and another does not. 
Now imagine that Vygotsky and Luria are performing these experiments in a country where the oak trees are denuded of acorns because people devoured them long ago. Peasants are now stripping bark from trees to eat. On some of these stripped trees, there may or may not be posters, printed by the authorities, which say "It is barbaric to eat your children". 
Here in Korea, children spend a lot of time on line in a kind of children's Myspace called Cyworld, which allows you to furnish your own room with various tchotchkes and dress your avatar in sundry fashions. To buy these virtual accessories, you need virtual money (which you have to purchase with real money), and the unit of currency is called the "acorn". 
I've noticed that children do not clearly understand the link between acorns and real money. Understanding this lack of understanding is key to understanding their behavior; any other kind of understanding is flawed and poorly grounded indeed. 
David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

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