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RE: [xmca] Social situation of development

Eric, I have just replied to Greg on a parallel thread but the two seem to be intertwining here! 

Whether schools should assimilate children or accommodate them, or a principled and ethical best of both, seems to relate to Greg's questions about freedom and repression. This can be thrown into particularly sharp contrast when schools attempt to force children to give up aspects of a lower status 'home' culture in favour of a higher status 'school' alternative, e.g. when children are forbidden to talk to each other in their home languages or, rather less drastically, perhaps, when they are made to wear a school uniform. I have long believed that playfulness has something useful to offer here - if children are invited and encouraged to 'dress up' in those ways of behaving which have higher status, to play at different ways of talking and behaving without abandoning the ways which work at home, they can learn to access multiple ways of being, some of which may be essential requirements for successful participation in some walks of life which at some point they may want to try out, without feeling that to do this requires them to leave part of themselves behind.

I appreciate that this may be very naïve - schools may serve as much to make some people fully appreciate their inferiority to those whose houses they will one day clean as to bring all children to the fullest fruition of their potential - but I think it wouldn't hurt teachers to reflect on what they want children to do with the culture they bring from their homes.

All the best,


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org
Sent: 08 June 2010 17:10
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [xmca] Social situation of development

In the Hedegaard article there is a clear delineation between the overall 
development of Andrew and his development in the institution of the 
school.  The ethnography of this study provides concise documentation of 
the cultural influence such institutions have upon families.  What is 
especially considered in the article is how Andrew does not meet the 
expectations regarding the social situation of development and this is 
considered problematic for the school.  In reading case studies such as 
these I always ponder the purpose of school and ask, "Is it for the 
purpose of building compliant and well socialized children that will 
follow the institutions' guidelines? Or is it for the greater good of 
having a well educated, creative and intelligent populous?"  Probably a 
combination of both but it appears that the former purpose places many 
people like Andrew into the crisis of non-conformity as a result of an 
unrealistic expectation for certain individuals.  Look at the explosion of 
home-school, charter, on-line and other alternative educational programs 
and it can be extrapolated that perhaps it is not Andrew that is slow in 
developing institutional concepts but rather the socially situated 
developmental expectation of these institutions as conflagrated hooey and 

A day late on the Hedegard article and perhaps out of the flow of current 
XMCA dialogue but still an idea I wanted to share.

What do others think?

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