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Re: [xmca] 1982 paper on schooling

Since I got sidetracked by a New Yorker cover art jig saw puzzle on that site, and then had to do some rummaging around to get to the right place, I thought I'd give the specific url for the cover art that Andy and Mike are talking about. (Not that the jig saw puzzle wasn't kind of fun. I never did one on a computer before.)

On the "male-female" concept, I get that many of the paired objects on the cover involve insertion and reception (e.g., lock and key, nut and bolt, electrical socket and plug, vase and flower, corked wine bottle and corkscrew, dust pan and brush). But this concept doesn't apply to all of the pairs, and other concepts might also apply to these pairs. Some objects are identical (green dots). Others are nearly so, except for handedness (gloves, shoes). Some can be logically paired for culinary reasons, at least by New York standards (egg and bacon, salt and pepper, bread and butter, oil and vinegar).

The pairing of the magnet and compass has me most perplexed. Those two objects are usually kept apart for practical reasons, aren't they? I'm pretty sure that particular pairing falls outside of a gender-based taxonomy, but I'm not sure whether it qualifies as paradigmatic, syntagmatic - or just plain contrary and contradictory! :-))
Thinking of Shirley's comments, fun exercises like this, looking for the insights that Mike and Andy offer into this cover art (and re- looking up what those linguistic terms that Mike used mean) strike me as ways of playing with higher cognitive concepts, which leads us toward more capably applying them. Looking at levels of grammar, meaning, taxonomy can be fun.

But, to point to Shirley's main line of interesting questions, I don't know how higher cognitive concepts like these could be taught only "orally," or if trying to restrict lessons about them to somehow being strictly oral is even desirable. On the other hand, oral skills in this regard should not be neglected - we need to not just be able to think at a desk, but also on our feet.

I am just now reading a chapter in History of the Development of the Higher Mental Functions where LSV stresses the importance of writing, drawing and playing in cognitive development, as well as of course mastering oral speech, from at least the age of four or so. Being able to move back and forth between these "languages," (speaking, writing, drawing, playing), as Vygotsky called them, seems to be essential in developing the higher mental functions. Learning grammar concepts, I would think, requires both oral and written speech, and even some drawing skills. I know I need to use all three of these "languages" to learn new grammatical concepts. It would be much harder to learn such things only orally, wouldn't it? At the same time, learning about grammar through writing and drawing strengthens my oral abilities. And, in any case, it sure helps when that stuff can be done playfully!

So, back to fun. Just how **did** that magnet and compass hook up, anyway? Sigh. Maybe I'm just being too taxonomically Western- collegiate. Perhaps one of Luria's old Uzbek colleagues would have just the right taxonomical explanation for why those two artifacts wound up holding hands ...

- Steve

On Jun 26, 2010, at 4:21 PM, Shirley Franklin wrote:

I'm also interested in this too.

I had a conversation with a friend who trains up teachers in schools and works with pupils, mainly who have English as a second language. She was telling me that she uses a Hallidayan genre model to help develop the children's speaking, and to make them express themselves in higher levels of thinking.

I am troubled by this. i am interested in Hallidayan genre teaching , as i think you can use a genre pedagogy to help pupils to develop their written language, and in the process develop their thinking. I am fascinated by how focusing on the different levels of the text you can induct kids into thinking in ways appropriate to the context and discipline, especially by working at the levels of the word - concepts and grammar- sentence and text.

But I am not sure that you can do this orally. Can you tell pupils how to frame their oral expression, to make them express themselves in a "higher cognitive way"? It seems bizarre - because I think we use language as a tool for thought. Can teaching more sophisticated oral linguistic structures impact on thinking.

I hope this makes sense.
Its' been bothering me all day!

Best to all
On 26 Jun 2010, at 17:02, ulvi icil wrote:

I am interested on the effect of schooling on concept formation, the
relationswhip between everyday and scientific concetps as a candidate
research topic for my master thesis that I will start to work October 2010
onwards !


2010/6/26, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>:

That article connects to several ongoing threads, Andy. But lets see if
others are interested before I directly comment.

Instead, I think that the cover of the current issue of the New Yorker magazine provides interesting food for thought one concepts and their representations. It is accessible from www.newyorker.com. Try to click on
the cover and than use control+ (on a pc) to get a larger and larger
The different layers of meaning appear to move between the syntagmatic and
paradigmatic dimensions of meaning making. Besides,
its clever.

On Sat, Jun 26, 2010 at 6:38 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

I just had a read of Mike's 1982 paper with Roy D'Andrade on the
of schooling on concept formation:


Great paper!

It occurred to me that Luria is in agreement with many others that a hierarchical system of categories, a taxonomy, is the archetype of the "abstract" concept. Luria's conception of how this relates to prior forms
concept (affective and concrete) is the main point of interest in the article, but I would like to question whether this taxonomical idea is
as the archetype of the "true" concept. The article claims that
practices ("true" or not) are archetypal school practices, and this is an
interesting and different question.

An interesting counterpoint to this is Hegel's classification of 3
different components which he thinks must *all* be present in the
of a true concept:

The subject is (a) ascribed certain qualities; (b) seen as having having
certain place in a system of social practice; and (c) taken under its
as belonging to a certain living whole.

Further, I think (c) does not actually amount to the kind of Linnaean hierarchical family tree, but could also be interpreted like genre and archetype without the implied underlying totality. Also, there is all too
much room for subsuming (c) under (a) as almost all of present-day
philosophy and natural science are wont to do.

Mike, you have done a lot of work on the role of this "taxonomical
activity" in and out of school. Davydov on the other hand, emphasises (b)
opposed to (a). It would be interesting to investigate concept- formation
this wider frame.


*Andy Blunden*
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/ >
Videos: http://vimeo.com/user3478333/videos
Book: http://www.brill.nl/scss

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