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Re: [xmca] spontaneous concepts indeed
On 26 April 2011 23:14, David H Kirshner <email@example.com> wrote:
> Okay, I'm going to throw my 2 cents into the concepts ring.
> I'm sympathetic to those who've expressed skepticism about the utility of
> concept as an analytic construct.
> Nevertheless, I teach entire courses devoted to development of math
> concepts; I find the notion of concept indispensable to preparing effective
> mathematics educators. Instrumentally, what's relevant is concept
> development. We're always talking about how intuitive concepts can be
> transformed into more sophisticated concepts through certain kinds of
> experiences (either occurring spontaneously, or as orchestrated
In the context of self-directed/spontaneous learning intuition is a key
concern. Although coming to a scientific conceptual appre of intuition
entails quite a journey.
> Importantly, these experiences are theorized intramentally as involving
> feedback loops between expectations and results of actions. Piagetian
> notions of accommodation and assimilation come into play.
> My point isn't that sociocultural notions of concept as indexed to the
> culture are incorrect or unreasonable.
How about scientific concepts emerging in a scientific culture?
> Indeed, a comprehensive sociocultural psychology has to come to grips with
> concepts, eventually reconciling the divergent ontogenetic and sociogenetic
> perspectives. But after so many dozens of emails devoted to articulating
> this program, I thought it would be refreshing to offer an escape into
> paradigmatic divergence. "Concept," narrowly defined in intramental terms,
> is a really useful construct to inform the genre of teaching involving
> concept development. Reciprocally, a narrow sociocultural theorization of
> enculturation into the practices of a cultural community is invaluable for
> informing the pedagogical project of acquiring valued dispositions through
> cultural participation. It's the ever-roiling program of theoretical
> synthesis that's so darn problematic for purposes of informing educational
> As baseball legend Yogi Berra put it, "In theory there is no difference
> between theory and practice, but in practice there is." :)
I'm guessing he didn't use maps very often, or was subject to "teachers"
that didn't distinguish between the map and the territory. That's doesn't
sound like a very good theory, or model, which I guess was his point.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On
> Behalf Of Andy Blunden
> Sent: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 8:29 AM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] spontaneous concepts indeed
> Temple, there is a little ambiguity in your question. When you talk
> about "concepts developing" can I presume you mean "can a person
> learn/master a scientific concept ...". I presume you are not actually
> asking about the formation of concepts, i.e., their creation, as opposed
> to their transmission.
> I think Vygotsky took a scientific concept as an archetype (or paragon)
> of the true concept, and in the context of the early Soviet Union, most
> people would have taken the two as synonymous. But in general, *true
> concepts* arise in *institutions* of some kind. As I said to Anna Sfard,
> in my opinion a trrue concept is nearly synonymous to a discourse. (Not
> quite, because in my opinion, concept also includes the forms of social
> practice other than discourse.)
> So for example, "the Holy Trinity" is a true concept and obviously
> neither scientific nor spontaneous, and it arises through instruction in
> a Church institution.
> I think *adults *can acquire concepts in all sorts of activity, whether
> playing computer game or reading books, so long as their acquisition of
> the word is connected to participation in the relevant social practices.
> After all, I learnt everything I know about CHAT participating in xmca
> and reading.
> that's how I see it.
> Martin Packer wrote:
> > Anthony, and Temple,
> > Mind, Culture and Activity has a special issue in preparation, guest
> edited by Yrjö Engestrom and Annalisa Sannino, titled 'Concept formation in
> the wild.' I know that some of the people who have sent in abstracts for
> manuscripts to be considered for that issue are xmca members. Perhaps they
> would like to take a shot at answering your question.
> > Martin
> > On Apr 26, 2011, at 6:24 AM, Temple wrote:
> >> I realize some time's gone by, but the question Jody's (Joanne's) post
> from last week raises for me is this:
> >> Can scientific concepts develop in non-structured learning settings? I
> mean those other than schooling, team play, church, work, etc. How about
> from being online a lot - just surfing, playing games, or reading blogs - or
> from spending one's time at the library or bookstore alone?
> >> It seems to me that such scenarios blur the lines between spontaneous
> and scientific situations, so to speak. That is, they are natural, everyday
> activities that lend themselves to repetition and reflective thinking and
> naming, where the structure of the activity itself (as opposed to a more
> experienced mentor) spurs on one's reflection, generalization, and
> "scientification" of knowledge.
> >> The following statement from Jody's (post sent my thoughts in this
> >>> In home schooling described by Holt, certain scientific concepts could
> be learned by a child at home, driven by their loves and needs.
> >> Could someone point me specifically towards a richer discussion of the
> development of scientific concepts during one's everyday "alone time"?
> >> Thx,
> >> Anthony
> >> Sent from my iPhone
> >> On Apr 22, 2011, at 7:32 AM, Joanne Hyatt <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> >>> I'm only a grad student, but I'll risk a spontaneous response.
> >>> In 1991 I had no background in education other than my own experiences.
> >>> However, compelled by circumstance, I home schooled my fourth grader.
> >>> main thought at the time was, "Even if he only reads at home for a
> >>> he'll be better off than attending the school he is destined to be
> >>> to." My pedagogy was inspired by John Holt's magazine "Unschooling", a
> >>> publication edited by Holt and filled with inspiring stories from
> >>> following Holt's theories.
> >>> I loved overseeing school at home, and my son and later my daughter
> >>> there. However, try as I might, it was exceptionally hard to shift or
> >>> the approach my children took to schooling. They were already
> >>> brainwashed by their few years of traditional schooling. While I hoped
> >>> they'd want to build a ham radio and communicate with 10-year-olds in
> >>> Australia, they'd see a workbook in the supermarket and ask me to buy
> it for
> >>> them. Also, years later, when I became a 4th grade teacher, I found it
> >>> impossible to create at school the environment I strove to create in my
> >>> home.
> >>> Clark Aldrich, in the link Peter supplied, is a breath of fresh air, a
> >>> modern and insightful 'Holt'. He is spot on in his diagnosis of
> >>> schooling's failings and offers compelling reasons try a new approach
> >>> home. However, to unschool properly, in my opinion, required a
> >>> amount of work on the part of parents. Today, in my community, more and
> >>> parents are choosing to home school, mostly out of desperation and
> >>> frustration with the school systems, but they lack the time and energy
> >>> follow up on Aldrich's compelling implications of what might compromise
> >>> unschooling.
> >>> I just finished reading Vygotsky's Thinking and Speech. Admittedly a
> >>> as I read, I kept looking for more references to a child's learning
> >>> their own experiences. Vygotsky's notion of scientific and everyday
> >>> seemed defined more by an instructional pedagogy than by content. He
> >>> to discount the idea that a child could develop an interest and pursue
> >>> successfully on their own. He refers to formal schooling, as he knows
> >>> as a given, an unchanging institution, and the trick is to figure out
> >>> children are developing there. The concept that many children might
> >>> outside of such an institution in different ways was absent. "Schools
> >>> teaching too many children too many things that don't excite them and
> >>> no relevance to what they need or love... says Aldrich." In home
> >>> described by Holt, certain scientific concepts could be learned by a
> >>> at home, driven by their loves and needs.
> >>> It seems that today we are trying to reinvent the institution of formal
> >>> schooling; how would that affect both Vygotsky's teacher or expert in
> >>> ZPD as well as his distinction between scientific and everyday
> >>> On Fri, Apr 22, 2011 at 6:04 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <email@example.com>
> >>>> without-the-school/?cxntfid=blogs_get_schooled_blog
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> *Andy Blunden*
> Joint Editor MCA:
> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857
> MIA: http://www.marxists.org
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