Instructors: Vera John-Steiner & Holbrook Mahn
Credit Hours: 3
Place: Dane Smith 232
Office: Hokona 222
Office Hours: Mon. 1:30-3:00, Th. 3:30-4:30
Office: Hokona 212
Office Hours: Tues. & Thurs. 1:00 - 2:00 & TBA
Phone 277-5887; home: 881-7981
Course Homepage: http://www.unm.edu/~hmahn/vygotsky1.html
Course Description and
This course will
give participants the opportunity to study the work of Lev S.
Vygotsky in depth. While Vygotsky has received increased attention
recently, much of his work has remained inaccessible to the English
speaking world. In the last few years, three volumes of his collected
works were published. This seminar will give participants the
opportunity to read these works as well as selections from his
seminal pieces that have been available for a longer period of
time. While there have been multiple interpretations of Vygotsky's
work, this seminar will emphasize reading his work. There will
be occasional readings of other authors, especially in the beginning
when we examine Vygotsky's theoretical foundations, but in general,
we will be reading his writings and discussing them in class.
A focus for the seminar will be an examination of Vygotsky's
seminal concepts and their implications for education.
(20%) -- Regular participation in an on-line discussion
set up for this course which is accessible by clicking Here. This on-line
discussion allows us to ask questions, make comments, respond
to questions, raise concerns, in essence to carry on a dialogue
with our peers and the instructors.
Peer Exam (30%) -- Students will be asked to choose a topic of
interest to them, do some additional reading/research on that
topic and help lead a class discussion on it. (See the end of
the syllabus for a more complete description of the Peer Exam)
Term Project (50%) -- This project will give students the opportunity
to explore an aspect of Vygotsky's work that is of particular
interest to them. It is hoped that the product in this project
will be of use in the classroom or in your research. This project
will be open-ended and will allow for considerable creativity
on your part. We will discuss the project at greater length in
class. (See the end of the syllabus for more details.)
Required Texts: Mind in Society ,Vygotsky (1978), Harvard University
Press; Vygotsky's Psychology: A Biography of Ideas, Kozulin
(1990), Harvard University Press.
Recommended Text: Learning for Life in the 21st Century,Wells
& Claxton (2002), Blackwell Publishing.
Other articles on-line or distributed in class.
Individuals with special
Students with special needs should contact us as soon as possible
to ensure that appropriate academic adjustments are met in a
Nate Schmolze's Homepage -- One of the best sites on the internet for information on Vygotsky
XMCA Online Discussion -- A discussion connected to a course on Cultural Historical Activity Theory
Links on Sociocultural Theory
The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia
Microsoft's Encarta Encyclopedia and Dictionary
One Look Dictionary -- Searches 663 On-line dictionaries
Principia Cybernetica Web -- An interesting site with its own theory, but useful resources
Week One --
1/21 -- Introductions & quick write on expectations and goals
for the seminar.
1/23-- Vygotsky's life and times
Reading -- "On Vygotsky's Research and Life"
Life" -- Ghita Vygotskaya (Scroll down at this site
for the link to this article)
"The Historical Context of Vygotsky's Work: A Sociocultural
Approach" -- Rosa & Montero (especially pages 65-78)
of Russia pre-1917
Week Two -- 1/28 -- Overview of Themes in Vygotsky's
work -- Background to psychological work
Reading -- "Prologue" -- Kozulin; "The
Mozart of Pychology " -- Toulmin;
1/30 --Reading --
Approaches to Learning -- John-Steiner & Mahn (Scroll
down the site to find this article)
Week Three --
2/4-- Methodological Approach -- Dialectical Materialism.
Reading -- Mind in Society (MIS) -- Introduction,
Chapter 5, Afterword,
Science of Dialectics -- Engels
Materialism -- a short overview
2/6-- Historical Materialism
Reading -- "Vygotsky's
Use of History" -- Scribner;
Selections from Vygotsky on Historical Materialism.
Materialiam -- a short overview
Week Four 2/11--
The State of Psychology in Vygotsky's Time --
Reading -- Kozulin, Chapter 3, "The Crisis in Psychology"
2/13 -- Reading --Vygotsky's
in Psychology" Sections 1-4
Supplementary: Vygotsky's "Crisis
in Psychology" Sections 12 &13
as a Problem for the Psychology of Behaviour" -- Vygotsky
Week Five --Psychological
Analysis of Learning and Development and Implications for Teaching
2/18 --Reading -- Mind in Society, Chapters 6 &
2/20 --Reading --- Wells & Claxton, Chapter 7, "Teaching,
Learning, and Development: A Post-Vygotskian Perspective"
-- Stetsenko & Arievitch
Week Six --2/25 -- Concept
Reading -- Kozulin -- Chapter 5 -- "Thought and
2/27 ---- Concept Formation
Reading --Thinking and Speech -- Chapter 6, Sections
FOR PEER EXAM PARTNERSHIPS 2/27
Week Seven -- --3/4 --Concept
Reading -- Thinking and Speech -- Chapter 6, Sections
3/6 -- Thought and Language
Reading -- Vygotsky -- Thinking and Speech --
Chapter 7, Thought and Word, Sections 1-3
WeekEight -- 3/13 -- Thought
and Language (cont'd)
Reading -- Vygotsky -- Thinking and Speech --
Chapter 7, Thought and Word, Sections 4 & 5
3/15 -- PEER EXAM
SPRING BREAK -- 3/18 & 3/20 --Presentations begin week
Week Nine -- 3/25 --A Functional
Reading -- Reading -- "A
Functional Systems Approach to Concept Development" -- John-Steiner,
Meehan & Mahn.
Reading - "Sociocultural
Contexts for Teaching/Learning" -- John-Steiner & Mahn
-- Pages 131-135 (Note: This article is the assigned reading for 4/29).
3/27 -- TURN IN
PEER EXAM PAPERS.
Each team will
make a short 6-8 minute presentation on the activity. Topics
for Class Presentations will
be finalized. Teams or groups can meet to plan their presentations.
Week Ten --4/1--Development
of Higher Psychological Processes
Reading -- MIS -- Chapters 1-4
4/3 -- Development of Higher Psychological Processes
Reading -- "The Problem of the Development
of Higher Mental Functions" -- Vygotsky
Week Eleven -- 4/8 --Play
Reading -- MIS -- Ch. 7
4/10 -- Creativity
Reading "Imagination and Creativity
in the Adolescent" -- Vygotsky
"Creativity in the Making" --Moran & John-Steiner
Week Twelve -- 4/15 --
Psychology & Art
Reading-- Vygotsky's The Psychology of Art --
-- Kozulin, Chapter One, "Toward
the Psychology of Art."
Week Thirteen -- 4/22 -- Literacy
Reading -- Mind in Society, Ch. 8, "The Pre-history
of Written Language"
4/24 -- Affect
Readings -- Vygotsky, "The Problem of the Environment"
and Mahn & John-Steiner, "The
Gift of Confidence: A Vygotskian View of Emotions."
4/29 -- Special Education
Readings -- Vygotsky, "Introduction: The Fundamental
Problems of Defectology"; Gindis, "Vygotsky's
Vision: Reshaping the Practice of Special Education for the 21st
5/1 -- Bilingualism
Reading -- John-Steiner -- "The Road to Competence
in an Alien Land: A Vygotskian Perspective on Bilingualism."
Week Fifteen --
5/6 -- Review of Basic Concepts covered in course.
Reading -- "Sociocultural Contexts for Teaching/Learning"
-- John-Steiner & Mahn
5/8 -- Class Presentations -- FINAL PAPERS DUE
Week Sixteen --
5/13 -- Class Presentations
5/15 -- Class Presentations -- Extended
Class -- Potluck at Holbrook's home.
Peer Exam -- A peer examination is designed
to give you the opportunity to seek out and reflect upon an issue
of particular importance to you. It is an opportunity to explore
and develop ideas that are meaningful to you and also of interest
to your partner. The process requires that you combine individual
research and discussion/negotiation with a partner (chosen in
class) over a three-week period. During this time you will generate
what you consider to be a major question regarding Vygotsky's
cultural-historical framework. You and your partner will both
be working on different issues; however, you will be formulating
each of your questions collaboratively. The steps are:
* Select your partner by 2/27
* Meet outside class with your partner to discuss and negotiate
question/topic (each of you has a
* Inform professors of two questions/topics.
* Conduct research and prepare notes illustrationg the development
of your ideas.
* Bring notes on peer exam date (3/15)
to use in discussing question/topic with your partner.
* You and your partner each will be given 15 to 25 minutes to
discuss your answers.
* Write a short summary (3-5 pages) of conclusions from peer
exam, which is due on 3/27. All references to materials
outside the course syllabus need to be noted.
Suggestions for Term Project:
Your term project should address one of the following areas to
which Vygotskian ideas have been applied. They may include areas
covered in the syllabus, ones in which you have a particular
interest, or one from the list below:
* math education
* learning and development
* cultural psychology
* American Sign Language
* Language Acquisition
You may do either a literature review, report on empirical studies
that have revealed aspects of the area through a Vygotskian lens,
or conduct a pilot study using a Vygotskian framework.