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Re: [xmca] Mary Had a Little Lamb: the concept categories

Great discussion that is delving deep into the curiosities of human 

I only would like to add that it is specific to the academic setting and 
only the academic setting in being able to decipher the grammatical 
structure of the example provided about directions.  If we want people to 
learn how to get around town we can try and do all of the systemic 
language processing we like but the best and truest way is to take someone 
by the hand walk them through the steps, point out the landmarks and buy 
them an egg roll at the end.

When Sylvia Scribner did her landmark study of workers in a Dairy Plant 
she found that they used everyday concepts and processing to get the job 
done.  It is surely more efficient and in the workplace efficiency is 
king.  Now that said academic concepts have a place and I would side with 
you David that learning academic concepts in the adolescent years greatly 
increases a person's ability to be efficient with everyday concepts; and 
also more importantly how is an everyday concept differentiated from an 
academic concept?  However how is that proven and then once it is proven 
what changes can be made to the academic community to provide authentic 
testing and assessing of this on said adolescent.


David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com>
Sent by: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu
04/05/2010 07:04 PM
Please respond to "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"

        To:     Culture ActivityeXtended Mind <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
        cc:     bassist80@hanmail.net
        Subject:        Re: [xmca] Mary Had a Little Lamb: the concept categories

If you look carefully at the EC "although" line that connects 16.2 and 
65.5, and compare it to the lines in the key you will see that it is a 
real and not a hypothetical line. 
The Minick diagramme is not really WRONG, Martin. It's just confusing. 
There are just too many different kinds of lines to show (prolongation vs. 
continuation, real vs. hypothetical, because vs. although, EC vs. AC) and 
they are too similar. 
Meccaci is the only edition I have with a diagramme which is both readable 
and correct. The 2005 Russian edition (Labirint) and the French edition 
are correct, but unreadable. E viva il maestro, Luciano Meccaci!
Now, my question is really about what CAUSES the parallelogram of 
development. Vygotsky argues that it is the pull of the AC on the EC, and 
I am very ready to believe him. But how can we prove it? 
How can we POSSIBLY distinguish the very real parallelogram of development 
from a simple ceiling effect in the increase of science concepts caused by 
the inability of the children to get beyond empty verbalism?
One of my grads is working on a (microgenetic rather than ontogenetic) 
replication study right now, actually. For the current lesson we've got 
the following:
Kevin's Father: Excuse me, ma'am. Where is York Street?
Korean Old Lady: Go straight and turn right.
Teacher: Now, there is no nice old Korean grandma around, so he calls me 
on his cell phone. I have only this map (shows a Cartesian grid map of 
Manhattan) and a GPS which shows that he's here in Times Square. But the 
York Street Korean restaurant is way over HERE (points to a spot a dozen 
blocks away). What do I say?
Well, it turns out that the answer to this question involves not only 
NUMBERS (e.g. "go straight five blocks" instead of just "go straight") but 
also non-relative direction words (e.g. "north", "south", "east", and 
"west" instead of "left" and "right"). 
As a result the distal directions are significantly longer in words per 
line. We think that precisely this kind of pressure on grammatical 
processing (particularly with written language) would eventually lead to 
hypotaxis (i.e. "because" and "although" in preferance to "so" and "but"), 
a characteristic more typical of academic than of everyday language.
On the other hand, the level of successful completion in the distal 
condition (arguably, an AC condition) is significantly LOWER than that in 
EC. Not too surprising, given that we are looking at microgenesis and not 
ontogenesis, and given the lack of cramming given the kids. But still it's 
the opposite of what Vygotsky found.
David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education
--- On Mon, 4/5/10, Martin Packer <packer@duq.edu> wrote:

From: Martin Packer <packer@duq.edu>
Subject: Re: [xmca] Mary Had a Little Lamb: the concept categories
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Date: Monday, April 5, 2010, 3:04 PM


That helps, thank you. Part of my confusion was due to the fact that the 
figure in this chapter (it's on page 214 of the Minick translation) is 
evidently misdrawn. As shown, "hypothetical" extensions are drawn back in 
time for both SC and EC for "Because" questions (the upper lines), but the 
hypothetical extensions drawn *forward* in time (the lower lines) are of 
EC for "Because" and of SC for "Although." What should have been shown are 
the extensions forward of SC and EC for "Although," because if this were 
done, we would have a parallelogram for each question. 

On Apr 4, 2010, at 9:29 PM, David Kellogg wrote:

> Martin:
> Vygotsky reasons that "although" is a late developing concept compared 
to "because" in both its EC and SC forms. This makes sense to me; it is 
much more difficult than "because", since it contains the dialectical idea 
of two things that are linked but distinct and in some sense opposed and 
contradictory, not simply the idea that they are linked but distinct and 
one follows causally from the other. It's hard to get your head around 
that one.
> So Vygotsky thinks, we are basically looking at the first part of the 
parallelogram of development, the part where (Vygotsky estimates) 
"because" also showed divergent development between the fast rising 
academic concept and the much slower rising everyday concept. 
> Eventually, Vygotsky reasons, we will see a ceiling effect on the 
academic concept and the everday concept will join it. The picture he 
draws to show this includes some purely speculative data which he probably 
intended to gather but never did. I think he went ahead and published 
because of nature's deadline. 
> There ARE complete parallelograms of development visible in materials 
that are gathered by subsequent researchers, including stuff from 
researchers who are not actually very sympathetic to Vygotsky, such as 
Karmiloff-Smith (see "Beyond Modularity", p.19, where there is a very 
clear parallelogram of development in her depiction of "behavioral change" 
vs. "representational change").
> So...how does he reconcile the claims with the data? Optimism, as Jay 
would say!
> David Kellogg
> Seoulnational University of Education 
> --- On Sun, 4/4/10, Martin Packer <packer@duq.edu> wrote:
> From: Martin Packer <packer@duq.edu>
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Mary Had a Little Lamb: the concept categories
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> Date: Sunday, April 4, 2010, 5:31 PM
> A question on chapter 6 of R&L. Vygotsky provides some data on the first 
few pages, which I plotted (attached) and found that I had reproduced his 
own diagram later in the chapter. This is from the study asking children 
to complete sentences with 'because' or 'although,' using either everyday 
concepts (EC) or scientific concepts (SC). LSV interprets the data as 
showing that responses employing SCs are always at a higher level, but 
that with time they 'pull up' the ECs. The first figure does seem to show 
this. It shows results from asking the children "Because..." qustions. At 
2nd grade the SC results are higher than the EC results, while at 4th 
grade although the responses using SC are scored even higher, those using 
EC have caught up. But in the second diagram, showing data from 
"Although..." questions, the gap between SC and EC grows over 
time/age/grade. The difference between SC and EC is greater at 4th grade 
than at 2nd grade. This seems to run
> counter to LSV's statements. Any suggestions about how to reconcile the 
claims with the data?
> Martin
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