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Re: RE: [xmca] Fleer/Hedegaard for discussion

I want to amplify a particular point in your intervention with Maria and how you "collected" her by structuring an  intersubjective space of teaching/learning and then intentionally promoted her sense of AGENCY in the world.
You mentioned you individually taught Maria particular activities in a one-on-one structure and MEDIATED her developing new activities. [I believe it was this initial one to one ENGAGEMENT where you "collected" Maria which gave her the RECOGNITION that facilitated learning the activity in an intersubjective "space".
Philip it was the next step in your intervention which I believe is CENTRAL to developing/promoting AGENCY and a sense of identity within socially situated practices. After Maria learned the appropriate activities you structured the classroom context to facilitate putting Maria in the position/role of being the person who had to ACT INTENTIONALLY to ENGAGE another student who was put in the learner position.  I believe your structuring Maria's  positioning  as the "teacher"is a transformative act and allowed Maria to have the experience of RECOGNIZING another student and that other student RESPONDING to her INTENTIONAL ACT of teaching.
It is critical from my perspective that every person has the EXPERIENCE of MOVING  others through the person's intentional acts of engagement.
What the Fleer/Hedegaard article points out is how the REGULATORY FUNCTION of socially situated institutional practices constrains [and affords] particular developmental pathways. What I want to add is the construct of ENGAGEMENT [as a movement or tension of RESPONSE and WITHDRAWAL] and how institutional structures REGULATE this function of engagement [or disengagement]
For others on this listserve who want to read a theoretical explanation of why AGENCY is FORMED within the structured intervention which Philip implemented I would recommend reading Alex Gillespie's work written from a MEADIAN perspective of the SOCIAL ACT. [actual real changing of positions . NOT changing of perspectives which is a cognitive process]
I believe the Fleer/Hedegaard article is going to generate lots of reflection and inquiry.

----- Original Message -----
From: "White, Phillip" <Phillip.White@ucdenver.edu>
Date: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 5:56 am
Subject: RE: [xmca] Fleer/Hedegaard for discussion
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>

> like Larry and Andy, i greatly enjoyed Marilyn's and Marianna's 
> article which describes, in my interpretation, how a six year 
> old boy becomes otherized and problematized by the practitioners 
> of an institution - in this case, primary school teachers.
> to back ground my comments, i want to describe two experiences 
> from past years of elementary school teaching.  one is with 
> a student i worked with in kindergarten and the other is a 
> student i worked with in the third grade.
> the names i use here are pseudonyms:  Maria Gonzalez 
> arrived in my third grade classroom a few months after the 
> beginning of school.  the records from her previous school 
> indicated that her teacher had begun the process of identifying 
> Maria as a child needing special education.  Maria's first 
> language was Spanish and she had been in the states for only a 
> few years.  Maria was a rover - moving around the classroom 
> continuously - particularly during large group 
> instruction.  requests from me for her to join has had 
> little effect.
> Elizabeth Guerrero arrived in my kindergarten classroom on the 
> first day of school.  she was also a rover, except during 
> large group instruction or when books were read aloud  -
>   her first language was English.  during small group 
> activities or center time or free time she never engaged in the 
> activities - instead she roved around and observed.  she 
> was always smiling, though quiet.  
> Marilyn and Marianna suggest in their article that a better 
> understanding of Andrew's development trajectory at home would 
> have informed "making judgements about his approach to learning 
> in the school."  The go on to state that their study draws 
> "attention to the need for problematizing the existing view of 
> development as a naturally evolving process and to provide 
> teachers with better theoretical tools for thinking about 
> development."  
> they suggest that the "school was also working hard to help 
> Andrew be a successful learner, but in ways that were very 
> different to his home practices and traditions."
> what they school was doing, however, besides diagnosing from a 
> deficit theory perspective, is not described, as far as i can tell.
> for me, in working with Maria & Elizabeth, i used Vygotsky's 
> theory of learning as a social activity, and Lave's and Wenger's 
> theory of community of practice - which meant that working for 
> my own idealized goal of what student practice in classroom 
> activities looked like, began a slow process of providing 
> structured/scaffolded practice for the student to participate 
> in, and watched for how class their approximation was in the 
> activity.  with Maria, she figured out what i was asking 
> for within two weeks - for Maria it was closer to three 
> months.  in fact, with Maria it wasn't until i individually 
> taught Maria particular activities and then asked her to teach 
> these activities to other students (at the same time explaining 
> to the other students that they were to go to Maria to learn 
> particual activities) did Maria become a full participant within 
> the classroom.
> as Larry noted: 
>        At home the mother was a 
> "helicopter mom" doing more than making sure the children were 
> safe. She was actively RECOGNIZING and validating the children 
> and encouraging their INTENTIONAL RESPONSE in the motivation to 
> stay CONNECTED [intersubjectively]
> The terms "activity" "participation" "affordances" "practices" 
> "communication" while accurate and definitely capturing [and 
> foregrounding] the STRUCTURAL aspects of the institutional 
> arrangements leaves the dialogical imperative of ongoing 
> engagement [of the child's relation with the mother] [and the 
> child's relation with the teacher] in the background while 
> emphasizing the institutional structures that constrain and 
> the classroom teachers could have embodied the same goals as the 
> mother - active recognition and validation of Andrew, coupled 
> with intentional responses to stay connected.  i didn't 
> read much evidence of these practices.
> while i deeply believe that classroom teachers need to know home 
> practices of activities, i also believe that these same teachers 
> need to explicitly teach classroom activities of participation, 
> monitor for approximations, and as well recognize that some 
> changes are going to take even longer than three months to 
> accomplish the student mastery of classroom practices.
> phillip
> Phillip White, PhD
> University of Colorado Denver
> School of Education
> phillip.white@ucdenver.edu_______________________________________________
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