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Charting the Agenda : Educational Activity after Vygotsky by Harry Daniels, Basil Bernstein

By Harry Daniels, Basil Bernstein

First released in 1993. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Additional resources for Charting the Agenda : Educational Activity after Vygotsky (International Library of Psychology)

Sample text

Teachers had a ready ear for a psychology which provided an alternative either to measuring and identifying abilities or to behavioural accounts of learning. English teaching was organizing itself on a national basis, and a number of researches sponsored by the Schools Council were initiated into different aspects of the subject. Vygotsky’s work became available at a key point in curriculum development. The psychology was formative in many of English teaching’s subsequent themes. In contemporary English classrooms, collaborative learning, the exploration of ideas through informal talk, writing as a process, language across the curriculum: all have their source in insights gathered from his psychology.

They have had to re-make a climate of opinion. More recent versions teach Marxism to Western psychologists and begin from collaboration between Western and Soviet scholars. Earlier versions found other strategies. The historical nature of this process should, I believe, be made explicit. On the whole, traditions in psychology militate against this. But that way confusions lie. I can illustrate the point by commenting on an essay of the American psychologist, Jerome Bruner. Bruner’s influence has been among the first in introducing Vygotskian psychology in the West and in setting a context in which Vygotsky may be read.

This hardly needs saying to English teachers. But it is an interest which has arisen and been maintained within a specific stretch of post-war British educational history, and I want to recall how this has come to be so. Vygotsky’s stress on language in thinking emerged as a powerful influence on English teaching in the 1960s. The sources of this impact were complex. In James Britton, there was an unrivalled interpreter (Britton 1970). Teachers had a ready ear for a psychology which provided an alternative either to measuring and identifying abilities or to behavioural accounts of learning.

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