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RE: [xmca] Elkonin's dominant activity as Vygotsky's *leading* activity
So, what I've gathered from Mike's writing over the years is:
1. There might be a leading activity, but focusing only on the one doing the leading overlooks the collaborative nature of the interaction, which often reconstructs the activity.
2. The question once asked of the scaffolding metaphor, "Who's building whose building?" is pertinent, given that the leading activity might work against the learner's interests.
3. The learner's cultural framework for the leading activity might make it more difficult for some learners than others to grasp the intended purpose and pathway for the activity, leading to mis-assessment in formal learning settings (e.g., school; but in other cases as well, such as gay people being counseled into being straight).
4. The leading activity may involve tools and tasks that don't suit the learner well, so the leading activity requires careful understanding in order for productive learning to take place.
Much else I'm sure. p
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of mike cole
Sent: Friday, February 01, 2013 12:08 PM
To: Anton Yasnitsky; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: 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 cultural-historical<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural-historical_psychology>
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 abilities<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognition>,
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 stimulus-response 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
(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 <email@example.com> wrote:
> original here:
> From: Huw Lloyd <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
> 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?
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