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Re: [xmca] MCA Featured Article by Mike Rose
Welding was something I learned through legitimate peripheral participation at the pineapple cannery where I worked when I was sixteen. It didn't require any mathematics, but it did, as Rose says, require a very sensitive "feel" for how hot the metal is, how long your arc is, and how fast you can travel with it.
I don't really agree that overhead welding is "something else again". In overhead welding, you have to move the "stinger" (the electrode) quickly enough so that your puddle of liquid metal remains small and cold and doesn't drip in your face (well, on your face mask). One of the parameters of welding (puddle size) is more important than the others, but it ithe same (semi-)skill with the same parameters.
And that's the problem I think is worth talking about. Once you learn flat welding and vertical welding, you can "graduate" to overhead, because it's not "something else"; it's manifestly the same skill. And there is a lot you can do with this skill. I worked in a cannery, on a locomotive assembly line, and eventually in a specialized shop which made racing car engines in London.
But (it seems to me) you can't graduate to mathematics, and you can't take the skill from one domain to another: my welding put me into college. But it didn't write the papers for me and I eventually dropped out and went back to welding.
So it seems to me that PART of the problem this article raises has to do with the subject matter itself: welding is really the kind of lower level psychological function that Vygotsky talks about: typing, swimming, and playing golf. It's the kind of work which necessarily and always--regardless of the way we teach it--will keep workers in their place, and it will do this no matter how we teach it.
Because it does NOT generalize to things like mathematics, it does not (as far as I can see) lead workers any further than overhead welding. Because it does NOT involve language it doesn't really change your word meanings or your concepts (I learned welding through legitimate peripheral participation from workers who spoke dozens of different languages that I could not speak--but neither of us learned any actual word meanings from each other). And because it does NOT involve formal discipline it cannot really develop higher psychological functions.
Writing is different. Writing skills DO generalize to a vast domain of knowledge, including reading and thinking. Writing skills DO involve language and they are cumulative and recursive in a way that welding is not. Above all, writing DOES involve formal discipline, and it is in itself the external "line of developent" of cross cultural and even cross generational communication.
I often wonder if legitimate peripheral participation is really a legitimate way of communicating development, or if it is simply a method of skill learning. In my own experience, it works really well for semi-skilled labor like welding.
But I rather doubt it can take you further than that. Perhaps Mike Rose senses that, and perhaps he even means it, but he doesn't express it. Curiously, I think the reason is that although he is an excellent writer, he is not a welder.
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies .
--- On Sat, 2/11/12, Robert Lake <email@example.com> wrote:
From: Robert Lake <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: [xmca] MCA Featured Article by Mike Rose
To: email@example.com, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Saturday, February 11, 2012, 5:21 AM
I am so glad you published this Andy.
The topic if crucial in any discussion about educating for social justice
in a culture that
relegates vocational education to the "loser track". My son is a member of
the IBEW and a lineman for Georgia Power Co.
and he sent this link to me to share with my colleagues in education.
On Fri, Feb 10, 2012 at 11:49 PM, Andy Blunden <email@example.com> wrote:
> The issue of MCA 19(1) about to be published has a Featured Article by
> Mike Rose: "Rethinking Remedial Education and the Academic-Vocational
> Divide." If all goes as promised, Taylor & Francis should be offering it
> for free download as of today. But a PDF is attached just in case! The
> issue also contains commentaries on Mike Rose's article by Norton Grubb,
> Kris Gutierrez, Sara Goldrick-Rab.
> The article is a scathing criticism of the US public education system, but
> one which makes very specific suggestions for improvement based on a life
> time of experience. It is also written in popularly accessible language
> rather than the usual academic genre. Rather than the usual practice of
> putting to a vote the article for discussion on xmca, it seemed crazy not
> to simply nominate this one. So please see attachment.
> *Andy Blunden*
> Joint Editor MCA: http://www.tandfonline.com/**toc/hmca20/18/1<http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/18/1>
> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.**aspx?partid=227&pid=34857<http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857>
> xmca mailing list
*Robert Lake Ed.D.
Social Foundations of Education
Dept. of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading
Georgia Southern University
P. O. Box 8144
Phone: (912) 478-5125
Fax: (912) 478-5382
Statesboro, GA 30460
*Democracy must be born anew in every generation, and education is its
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