Taking a distributed view of language, this paper naturalizes symbol grounding. Learning to talk is traced to – not categorizing speech sounds – but events that shape the rise of human-style autonomy. On the extended symbol hypothesis, this happens as babies integrate micro-activity with slow and deliberate adult action. As they discover social norms, intrinsic motive formation enables them to reshape co-action. Because infants link aﬀect to contingencies, dyads develop norm-referenced routines. Over time, infant doings become analysis amenable. The caregiver of a nine-month-old may, for example, prompt the baby to fetch objects. Once she concludes that the baby uses ‘words’ to understand what she says, the infant can use this belief in orienting to more abstract contingencies. New cognitive powers will develop as the baby learns to act in ways that are consistent with a caregiver’s false belief that her baby uses ‘words.’
This case study investigates the development of the understanding of constructivist theory among students in a Masters level elementary teacher education program within a particular course. The focus of the study is a seminar entitled ‘Advanced Seminar in Child Development’. The questions explored include: How do students’ ideas of teaching, learning and knowledge develop within the context of their experience in this course? How do they come to understand constructivism? What are their definitions of constructivism? What is the course of the development of this understanding? The nature of the students’ learning processes is examined through three sources of data: dialog journals, videotaped sessions and the instructor’s reflective teaching journal. The study looks both at student development and instructional practice to further understanding of how student-teachers can learn to apply constructivist theory to their teaching and to understand the learning process, both within themselves and their students. Their development is placed in the context of Korthagen and Kessels’s model of teacher understanding and practice, and within a broader context of principles of practice that emphasize a belief in equity and social justice. The case illustrates how the way student-teachers are taught theory can help them integrate their own ideas of learning and teaching with constructivist theory in order to think critically about their own practice in an ongoing developmental manner.
Mora G. (1976) Vico and Piaget: Parallels and differences. Social Research 43(4): 699–712.
In this condensed survey, I look to recent perspectives on evolution suggesting that cultural change may alter the genome. Since theories of development are nested within assumptions about evolution (evo-devo), I next review some oft-cited developmental theories and other psychological theories of the 20th century to see if any match the emerging perspectives in evolutionary theory. I seek theories based neither in nature (genetics) nor nurture (the environment) but in the creative play of human communication responding to necessity. This survey finally looks to more recent work to do with the appearance of independent self-consciousness in the individual following empathic group awareness. The result of such self-created group awareness and symbolic communication is seen to be cultural consciousness, unique to humanity, from which individual consciousness and personhood derive. I conclude by noting the general implications for these approaches in our schools, politics, and in ultimate ontological questions. Relevance: The paper shows how evo-devo is ultimately connected to cultural constructivism.
This essay reports work in cybernetics that it is believed can shed light on methodological and conceptual issues in the study of child development. To do so, cybernetics is placed in the larger context of the philosophy of science, drawing particularly on the work of Frederick Suppe and Nicholas Rescher. The concept of explanation in cybernetics is used to elucidate controversies concerning "“mechanistic’’ and "“organismic’’ types of explanation. An account is given of several models that appear to be of use in explicating the concepts of development, self-organisation and morphogenesis. Finally, the distinctions between firstand second-order cybernetics due to von Foerster and taciturn and language oriented systems due to Pask are invoked to encompass the social dimensions of child development.
Sheets-Johnstone M. (2000) The formal nature of emergent biological organization and its implications for understandings of closure. In: Chandler J. & Van de Vijver G. (eds.) Closure: Emergent organizations and their dynamics. New York Academy of Sciences, New York: 320–331.
This paper shows how recognition of biological form, of which the dynamics of closure is an integral part, is mandated by research on autopoietic systems, self-organization, evolutionary theory, and on topics in a variety of other areas, including infant and child development. It shows how a “matter pure and simple” (a mechanical concept of nature) is inimical to veridical understandings and explanations of emergent organization from the level of cells to the level of intact organisms-animate forms. By means of an analysis and discussion of writings by prominent researchers in diverse fields, a brief inquiry into neuron firing, and a consideration of intrinsic dynamics and primal animation, this paper shows that a principle of motion or animation informs biological nature. In other words, the fundamentally dynamic character of biological form at all levels exemplifies the kinetic character of living matter. The final section of this paper pinpoints implications for closure, emphasizing the need for an acknowledgement of the dynamics of closure and the need for theoretical and biological reformulations of living systems that incorporate that dynamics. It exemplifies the implication in each instance with reference to authors represented in this volume.
Vadeboncoeur J. A. (1997) Child development and the purpose of education: A historical context for constructivism in teacher education. In: Richardson V. (ed.) Constructivist teacher education: Building a world of new understandings. Falmer Press, London: 15–37. https://cepa.info/6669
Excerpt: Throughout the twentieth century, two competing views of child development and the purpose of education have framed the teaching of pedagogy in teacher education. In the first view, the purpose of education is to educate the individual child in a manner which supports the child’s interests and needs. The principles which guide this educational prescription are based on a theory of cognitive development that identifies the individual as the subject of study. In the second view, the purpose of education is social transformation and the reconstruction of society aligned with democratic ideals. This view is based on a theory of human development which locates the individual within a cultural milieu and identifies the subject of study as the dialectical relationship between the two. These two themes are also central to the current discussion of constructivisms: Piagetian constructivism is aligned with an emphasis on education for individual cognitive development while forms of Vygotskian constructivism are aligned with an emphasis on education for social transformation.
Vanderstraeten R. (2001) The autonomy of communication and the structure of education. Educational Studies 27(4): 381–391. https://cepa.info/7824
Traditional analyses of education are subject centered. Education is either viewed from the perspective of the educator (teaching, parenting) or from that of the pupil (learning, child development). These analyses do not facilitate the study of education as a social phenomenon. This paper aims for the clarification of the ‘conditio socialis’ of education. It highlights the autonomy of social systems vis-à-vis their environment. Communication is described as the constitutive element of social systems. Education is analyzed as a process within which a double system-reference comes into play, viz. to social systems and to human beings. The structure of education is analyzed in the context of this interaction between social systems and human beings. In this context, the improbability of successful education comes to the fore.