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Re: [xmca] Human Sciences linking with CHAT

In this introductory chapter to their 2010 NSSE Yearbook (O'Connor, K., &
Penuel, W. R. (2010)  Introduction: Principles of a Human Sciences Approach
to Research on Learning Learning Research as a Human Science. National
Society for Study of Education, 109(1). (Eds): W. R. Penuel & K, O¹Connor
http://nsse-chicago.org/Yearbooks.asp), O'Connor and Penuel
discuss how researchers address the question, ³What should be done?² to
improve education. 

They makes a useful distinction between experimental research as focused on
following ³particular methods of research to determine precisely what works
to improve teaching and learning² versus a socio-cultural perspective that
determines the value of certain methods related to the larger goals, worth,
or value of those methods that may not be measurable:

     As researchers in the sciences of learning, whether approaching
learning from within a natural science, a design science, or a human science
perspective, we are rarely content to produce descriptions of learning in
different settings solely for the purpose of advancing scholarship. In other
words, most of us in some form or another are engaged in efforts to
inform and/or help create particular policies, programs, and curricula.
In this respect, a human sciences approach does more than answer the
question ³Where are we going?² in critiquing current learning arrangements;
it also takes as focal the question ³What should be done?² (Flyvbjerg,
    Certainly researchers who advocate for a strong role for experimental
research in education (e.g., Cook, 2002) and who hold ontological and
epistemological commitments that are quite different from the ones
articulated in this volume also see a role for practical action. Their
argument,though, is that ³what should be done² should be determined
through a process of discovery, by following particular methods of
research to determine precisely what works to improve teaching and
learning (e.g., Borman, 2002; Cook, 2002; Dynarski, 2006; Luce &
Thompson, 2005). By contrast, a human sciences perspective assumes
that the value or worth of a program, learning environment, or system of
education cannot be discovered because the value and worth of a program
depend on the value and worth of its aims, a more fundamental
matter that cannot be determined by evidence alone. One does not so
much establish the value and worth of a program¹s aim as posit particular
aims as worthy, invoking different value schemes in doing so that will
inevitably appeal to some but not to others (e.g., ³back to basics²
approaches may appeal to some parents who believe in these aims but
not to self-described progressive educators who view these approaches as
an anathema).
    The view that the telos or ideal endpoint of learning and development
is a concept researchers postulate rather than discover is central within
the psychological writings of theorists such as Piaget, Werner, Kohlberg,
and Vygotsky. All these theorists posited different teloi for learning and
development (though they defined learning and development differently),
in which the ³stages² of development they defined logically followed
from, rather than built up to, those teloi (Gilligan, 1982). Kaplan
Human Sciences Approach 9 (2005) argued that the notion that development is
a ³concept by postulation² was central to Werner¹s psychology, that is, that
Werner¹s notion of development ³was a form or schema for selecting,
interpreting and organizingphenomena. In other words, development was not an
object in the Book of Nature, but was a way of looking at and describing
events, a way of organizing the manifold of phenomena² (p. 154).

This critique of a positivist, "what works" paradigm applies to current
standardized assessments of methods, schools, and teachers as "failing" or
"struggling" according to NCLB mandates, a perspective that fails to
consider the larger worth or value of schooling.

On 7/30/10 2:14 AM, "Patrick Jaki" <patrick.jaki@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Larry,
> Thank you for the Article.
> Jaki
> On 29 July 2010 18:05, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi Patrick
>> Here is a copy of the chapter article outlining the themes of "human
>> Science" and the centrality of values, agency, and teleology as CENTRAL
>> themes to be foregrounded in sociocultural accounts of being human.
>> Larry
>> On Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 12:30 AM, Patrick Jaki <patrick.jaki@gmail.com
>>> wrote:
>>> Dear Larry,
>>> I was interested in the chapter you downloaded on values. Do you perhaps
>>> have a link or a pdf somewhere.
>>> Regards.
>>> Jaki
>>> On 12 July 2010 07:40, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Hi Kevin and Mike
>>>> I'm away from the internet on the "gulf Islands" off of Vancouver.  I
>>> have
>>>> to go to the library in the village to get on the web.
>>>> However, yesterday I downloaded the chapter on human sciences and
>>> learning
>>>> and I want to say how powerfully the article speaks to me.
>>>> It puts at the forefront the fundamental need to explicitly discuss
>>> values
>>>> and explaining how we ought to proceed.  It then speaks to agency but
>>> more
>>>> explicitly MORAL agency and says it is a very slippery concept.  I
>> agree
>>> it
>>>> is slippery but also fundamental to notions of learning. Learning in
>>>> schools
>>>> is about developing moral agency and I welcome the explicit call to
>>> examine
>>>> various accounts of moral agency.  The 3rd framework asking us to
>>>> be explicit about our teleological assumptions is also a fundamental
>>> point
>>>> of discussion when we explore where we believe we are headed in the
>>> future.
>>>> Finally, the question, Who gets to decide? is of central importance to
>>>> notions of mutuality in learning.
>>>> It is my hope that others on CHAT see these as central questions to
>>>> explore.  Kevin, you mentioned human sciences embrace the "interpretive
>>>> turn" and there is also discussions of the "relational turn" and the
>>>> "sociocultural turn" which I see as challenging "the linquistic turn"
>> and
>>>> "postmodernism" and returning the focus to values and "traditions" and
>>>> "forms of life".  Activity and mediation are central concepts in the
>>> human
>>>> sciences as you outlined but it is moral activity and questioning how
>> we
>>>> ought to proceed that is central to activity.
>>>> Kevin, you  mention that history as  a discipline is a core area of
>>> inquiry
>>>> in the human sciences and learning.  From this perspective "thinking"
>>> [how
>>>> we conceptualize the processes of conceptualizing] is a historical
>>> process.
>>>>> From this perspective the history of philosophy is the history of
>>>> thinking.
>>>> Thinking develops historically as documented in the history of
>>> philosophy.
>>>> Therefore thinking as a human science can gain insights by exploring
>> how
>>> we
>>>> have historically conceptualized conceptualizing.
>>>> For example is the metaphor of thinking "as reading text" the dominant
>>>> metaphor or is the metaphor of speech "as dialogue" a better metaphor
>> of
>>>> thinking or the more recent metaphor of thinking as "information
>>>> processing"
>>>> the dominant metaphor?  By historical inquiry into the history of
>>>> philosophy
>>>> learning as a human science can be enriched and our horizons of
>>>> understanding expanded.
>>>> Larry
>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>> --
>>> Patrick Jaki
>>> Forced Migration Studies Programme
>>> University of The Witwatersrand.
>>> Work: 27 11 717 3166
>>> P. O Box 505 Wits
>>> 2050
>>> Johannesburg
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> xmca mailing list
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