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Re: [xmca] Elkonin's dominant activity as Vygotsky's *leading* activity

Anton, I think that Huew's question is about the notion usually referred to
in the English language
literature as "leading" activity. Very interesting to think about the
difference in translating the
Russian term, which I assume was "vediushchi" as "leading or dominant.

For example, the  Wikipedia entry, is informative for those who do not know
what sorts of things are at]

*Leading activity* is a concept used within the tradition of
 activity theory <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Activity_theory> to describe
the activity, or cooperative human action, which plays the essential role
in child development <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_development> during
a given developmental period. Although many activities may play a role in a
child’s development at any given time, the leading activity is theorized to
be the type of social interaction that is most beneficial in terms of
producing major developmental accomplishments, and preparing the child for
the next period of development. Through engaging in leading activities, a
child develops a wide range of capabilities, including emotional connection
with others, motivation <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motivation> to engage
in more complex social activities, the creation of new cognitive
and the restructuring of old ones (Bodrova & Leong 2007: 98).

The term “leading activity” was first used by Lev
15-17) in describing sociodramatic
play<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Play_(activity)> as
the leading activity and source of development of preschoolers, but it was
not systematically incorporated into Vygotsky’s theory of child
development. Later, however, Alexei
Leontiev<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksei_N._Leontiev> and
other “neo-Vygotskians” such as Alexander
Zaporozhets<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Zaporozhets> and
Daniel Elkonin (Zaporozhets 1997; Zaporozhets & Elkonin 1971) made the
concept a fundamental element of their activity theory of child
development. The concept has now been extended to several stages or periods
in human development.

The notion of a leading activity is part of a broader theory of activity
that attempts to integrate cognitive, motivational, and social aspects of
development. Despite many detailed descriptive accounts of the
developmental forms of memory <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory>,
perception <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perception>, and cognition in
various phases of childhood (e.g.
Piaget’s<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piaget,_Jean> work),
often missing is an explanation for *how* or *why* the child develops these
psychological processes (Karpov 2003: 138). The exploration of leading
activities seeks to illuminate these questions. Rather than biological
maturation <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_nativism> or
learning <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stimulus-response_theory>, specific
types of social activity are seen as generating human development. Because
of its attention to causal <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causality> dynamics,
the neo-Vygotskian theory has been called “the most comprehensive approach
to the problem of determinants and mechanisms of child development (Karpov
2003: 138).”

(I would take issue with the "Rather than" characterization of the theory,
but that is a topic for another message if people are interested).

The link below is to  an example of the way in which we once thought about
what we called, perhaps mistakenly, a leading activity.



On Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 8:19 AM, Anton Yasnitsky <the_yasya@yahoo.com> wrote:

> http://marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/1933/play.htm
> original here:
> http://dob.1september.ru/articlef.php?ID=200500510
> AY
> ________________________________
>  From: Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> Sent: Friday, February 1, 2013 10:20:48 AM
> Subject: [xmca] Elkonin's dominant activity
> In Nikolai Veresov's translation of Elkonin's Toward "The Problem of Stages
> in the Mental Development of Children" there are numerous references to
> dominant activity, which is a key contribution towards the hypothesis
> Elkonin presents.
> "The activity of formal learning, (79) i.e., that activity through which
> the child acquires new knowledge and for which a system of instruction
> should provide proper guidance, is the dominant activity in this period.
> The intellectual and cognitive forces of the child are actively molded
> during the course of this process. The primacy of formal learning (80) is
> also reflected in the fact that is this activity that mediates the whole
> system of the child's relations with surrounding adults (down to personal
> contact (81) with family)."
> What is meant by dominant here?   For instance,
> i)  Are these activities considered to take place exclusively for a given
> time duration, i.e. that two activities do not take place in parallel for
> the subject, such that the dominant activity is present for longer?
> ii) Is it inteneded that the dominant activity does not wax or wane prior
> to being subsumed by a new dominant activity, which the quotation suggests?
> iii) Is it meant that circumstances that afford this activity's involvement
> are shaped primarily by this activity?
> iv) Or is it meant that all social circumstances are percieved in terms of
> this activity?
> Can anyone point me to papers that cover this in more detail?
> Thanks,
> Huw
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