Psychology 100K: Development of Thought and Language

Reading list

Topic 1. Evidence of cognitive and language development in informal settings

______Nicolopoulou, A. & Cole M. (1993). Generation and Transmission or Shared Knowledge in the Culture of Collaborative Learning: The Fifth Dimension, Its Play-World, and Its Institutional Contexts. In E. A. Forman, N. Minick, & C. A. Stone (Eds.), Contexts for learning: Sociocultural dynamics in children's development. New York: Oxford University Press. (Option I) Due: 01/13 (M)

Eugene's questions:

  1. How were children's learning and cognitive development at the 5th Dimension assessed in the paper?
  2. Which of the two described settings better fit the 5th Dimension and why? What was the evidence for the better fit?
  3. Which of the two settings like more 5th Dimension and why?
  4. What is the ecology of each setting and what the ecology of the 5th Dimension?
  5. Describe the ideal settings for the 5th Dimension?
  6. Do you think that the setting of Barrios Unidos ideal fit the UCSC links projects? Please, give examples. If not, what setting would?

______Vasquez, O. (1994). The magic of La Clase Magica: Enhancing the learning potential of bilingual children. The Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 17(2): 120-128. (Option II) Due: 01/13 (M)

Eugene's questions:

  1. What is the role of games at La Clase Magica and Barrios Unidos (discuss similarity and difference)?
  2. What is the role adults (undergraduate students) at La Clase Magica and Barrios Unidos (discuss similarity and difference)?
  3. How does La Clase Magica facilitates development of language (both Spanish and English)?
  4. What are the purposes of El Maga and maze at La Clase Magica?
  5. What is the role of the Wizard Assistant Club? How does it help for language development? What is evidence of its help?

Topic 2. Approaches to cognitive development

______Rogoff, B. (1990). Apprenticeship in thinking: Cognitive development in social context. New York: Oxford University Press. Ch.2-3. (Option I) Due: 01/15 (W)

Eugene's questions:

  1. Describe different approach to cognitive development regarding the role of individual and environment mentioned in the paper? Give examples. What was Rogoff's critique of some of these approaches? What is her alternative? Do you agree with Rogoff?
  2. What is unit of analysis?
  3. Describe Gibson's, Vygotsky's, and Piaget's theories. Try to find Barrios Unidos examples to illustrate these theories. What are similarities and differences among these theories?
  4. Why is the notion of "activity" so important for cognitive development according to Rogoff?
  5. What is "situated cognition" (although Rogoff did not use this term, she provided its spirit)?
  6. What is "cognitive apprenticeship" and "guided participation"? Why are they so important for Rogoff? What new conceptual features do they bring to the discussion on cognitive development?
  7. Describe examples of how definition of intelligence and cognition are shaped by local culture. What is your definition of intelligence and why what you included in your definition is important for life in your own community, institution, or practice? Give examples of communities where your definition would not work.

______Cole & Cole (1993). The development of children. New York: Scientific American Books. Ch. 12. (Option II) Due: 01/15 (W)

Eugene's questions:

  1. What is the evidence of children's developing cognition presented by Cole & Cole?
  2. What is relationship between changes in brain and changes in child's behavior? What are the current evidence and issues?
  3. What are the current evidence and issues regarding cognitive development in middle childhood? Can you think of observations at Barrios Unidos that support or contradict claims presented in Cole & Cole?
  4. Describe Piaget's and information processing theories of cognitive development and provide evidence of their claims? What was supportive and counter-evidence found after Piaget? Can you find observations in Barrios Unidos that support or contradict Piaget's and information processing theoretical claims?
  5. What are cultural variations in cognitive change? Discuss quantitative and qualitative differences. How do cognitive skills relate to practices children participate in?

Topic 3. Development of cognitive functions

______Vygotsky, L. (1987). Mind in society. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Ch.7. (Option I) Due: 01/22 (W)

Eugene's questions:

  1. What is the relationship between reality and play and between rule and imagination, according to Vygotsky? How do object, action, and meaning link in play and in the reality? Why do children play?
  2. Why did Vygotsky say that play is not symbolic?
  3. What was for Vygotsky the evidence of development?
  4. What is the development of play? Why did Vygotsky call play as "leading activity" for preschool children? What is play for older children? What are their leading activity?

______Baker-Sennett, J., Matusov, E., & Rogoff, B. (1992). Social processes of creativity and planning: illustrated by children's playcrafting. In P. Light & G. Butterworth (Eds.) Context and cognition: ways of learning and knowing (pp. 253-281). Hertfordshire, England: Harvester-Wheatsheaf. (Option II) Due: 01/22 (W)

Eugene's questions:

  1. What has been a traditional approach to studies of planning and what are the problems with such approach?
  2. Discuss the role of the teacher and teacher student in the playcrafting sessions. Why was the teacher student unsuccessful? Compare your own (and other students') role at Barrios Unidos with those of the teacher and teacher student.
  3. What were the levels of planning discussed in the paper and how and why did their frequency change with the progress of the playcrafting?
  4. How did planning process related to the process of establishing social relations and coordination among the children?
  5. What are "planning in advance" and "planning in action"? What are the differences and similarities among them? Have you noticed these two types of planning in the children and the undergraduate students at Barrios Unidos?
  6. Why do you think the presented study contradicts at some points previous finding?

Topic 4. Schooled and everyday cognition

______Lave, J. (1992). Word problems: A microcosm of theories of learning. In P. Light & G. Butterworth (Eds.), Context and cognition: Ways of learning and knowing (pp. 74-92). New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf. (Option I) Due: 01/27 (M).

Eugene's questions:

  1. What is the difference between everyday math and traditional school math?
  2. What is the difference between a whole-person dilemma and a performance-display hypothetical puzzle?
  3. Why does traditional school push for a performance-display hypothetical puzzle?
  4. What is a whole-person dilemma for many children in traditional school and how it relates to math?
  5. Why is not a good idea to "everyday" school math?
  6. What kind of reforms does Lave see necessary for school and why?

______McDermott, R. (1993). The acquisition of a child by a learning disability. In S. Chaiklin & J. Lave (Eds.), Understanding practice: Perspectives on activity and context. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. (Option II) Due: 01/27 (M).

Eugene's questions:

  1. Why, according to McDermott, are conceptual and methodological constructs diificult to apply to everyday activities involving cognition? What is "ecological invalidity"?
  2. What was McDermott's description of learning disability? What is his hypothesis about learning disability? Have you noticed LD children at Barrios Unidos? Does McDermott's hypothesis fit to these children? Do you agree with his hypothesis?
  3. What is institutional arrangements that, according to McDermott construct learning disability? Why do you think these arrangements are in place (what are their social, economic, and political functions)?
  4. What were the contexts of Adam's cognitive and learning abilities and competence and what were the contexts of his cognitive and learning disability and incompetence? What were similarities and differences between these contexts? Who and how organized and contributed to these contexts?
  5. Why does McDermott argue that learning disability did not belong to Adam? How does McDermott define learning?
  6. What is deficit theory and why is not it useful for description of Adam's behavior across contexts according to McDermott? What are "degradation ceremonies" in different practices what are their functions? What are the roles of competition, testing, arbitrary limitations for help, displaying of knowledge in constructing learning disability?
  7. What are three stories about everyday life tasks?

Topic 5. Language and cognition

______Vygotsky, L.S. (1987). Thinking and speech. In R.W. Rieber & A. S. Carton (Eds.), The collected works of L. S. Vygotsky: Problems of general psychology, Vol. 1. New York: Plenum Press. Ch.7. (Option I) Due: 02/03 (M).

Eugene's questions:

  1. What is unit of analysis according to Vygotsky in general and for analysis of thinking and speech in specific? What is the difference between speech and language?
  2. What was Vygotsky's criticism of the associative theory of the relationship between the word and meaning?
  3. What is the inherent nature of the words and how it changes in child development?
  4. What is relationship, dynamics and development of thought and speech?
  5. What did Vygotsky mean when he said that "thought is not expressed but completed in the word" (p. 250)?
  6. What are external and semantic structures of speech, external, egocentric, and inner speech, and their relationship to themselves and to thinking? What are their development? Why do problems in an activity increase frequency of egocentric speech in children? What was the evidence for Vygotsky's theory of egocentric speech? Have you noticed cases of egocentric speech in the children at Barrios Unidos? What were the occasions of such cases?
  7. What the difference between Vygotsky and Piaget about the relationship between speech and thought?

______Cole & Cole (1993). The development of children. New York: Scientific American Books. Ch. 8. (Option II) Due: 02/03 (M).

Eugene's questions:

  1. What are four subsystems of language? Can you give examples of the four subsystems using ways of children talking at Barrios Unidos?
  2. When you point at something to a child with limited English speaking skills and use an English word that child does not know, how do you think the child knows what you meant?
  3. What are first words that infants say across the world? How are these first words shaped by the local community or the family? What is the meaning of early words for the child? How do the early words relate to the child's social and physical environment?
  4. Describe development of early words and sentences. What is language semantics and pragmatics?
  5. Describe theories of language development. How are the theories different and similar? Which one do you like more and why?
  6. How do ways of adults' deliberate instruction across the cultures influence children's learning their language?
  7. What is the relationship between language and thought? What the difference between Vygotsky and Piaget on this issue?

Topic 6. Cultural diversity of discourse.

______Michaels, S., & Cazden, C. B. (1986). Teacher/child collaboration as oral preparation for literacy. In B. B. Schieffelin & P. Gilmore (Eds.), The acquisition of literacy: Ethnographic perspectives. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. (Option I) Due: 02/10 (M).

Eugene's questions:

  1. What are the discourse patterns of black and white children described by Michaels and Cazden?
  2. Who were the black and white children described by the authors? How much generalization can we comfortably make?
  3. What judgments of sophistication and maturity were made by 1) teachers, 2) white parents, and 3) black parents regarding white and black children's discourse patterns? What are their criteria for "good" discourse? How are these criteria different and similar?
  4. Why do the discourse patterns different in the black and white communities?
  5. What are "ideal" developmental trajectories for white and black children from the point of view of 1) children's own local communities, 2) school, 3) mainstream society, and 4) federal government?
  6. What do you think would be an ideal, harmonious relationship between the black community described by the authors and school?

______Heath, S.B. (1982). What no bedtime story means: Narrative skills at home and school. Language in Society, 11, 49-77. (Option II) Due: 02/10 (M).

Eugene's questions:

  1. What is the definition of literacy and "literacy events," according to Heath? How literacy relates to oral practice?
  2. What are the three patterns of literacy described by Heath? How these patterns relate to ways of talking and doing in the three communities? What do you think cultural beliefs about truth and lie in these communities?
  3. What are similar and different in ways of using books in these three communities?
  4. What strengths and weaknesses do the community ways of literacy bring to a traditional US school, according to Heath? Do you agree with Heath about her description of a traditional US school?
  5. What kind of literacy prevails in our class, at Barrios Unidos, in the UCSC in general?

Topic 7. Issues of bilingual education and language development

______Vasquez O. A., Pease-Alvarez, L., & Shannon, S. M. (1994). Pushing Boundaries: Language and culture in a Mexicano Community. New York: Cambridge University Press. Ch.6. (Option I, big chapter) Due: 02/19 (W).

Eugene's questions:

  1. What is usual fate of children with limited English in school, according to the authors? How the teaching curriculum can be different for these children in comparison with the mainstream children?
  2. What are cultural clashes between home and school cultural values for minority (especially Mexican origin) children? Have you noticed differences in cultural values between you (or other undergraduate students) and the Barrios Unidos children?
  3. What was the role and practices of adults in tutoring program and how was it different and similar from your role at Barrios Unidos?
  4. What is the difference between 5th Dimension and La Clase Magica?
  5. What is the relationship between English and Spanish at La Clase Magica? How is similar and different it from barrios Unidos? Have you noticed that the Barrios Unidos children did (do) not use full linguistic competency (in English and/or Spanish)? Why do you think it occurs? Describe changes (and time-span) in how the organization of Spanish-English use changed at La Clase Magica over the time. What is code-switching?
  6. What is optimal learning environment regarding bilingualism according to the authors?
  7. Describe existing approaches to bilingualism. Which ones can be applied to Barrios Unidos and other educational institutions you have experienced? What is immersion program and what did provide its success in the described community?

______Baker, C. (1993). Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism. Philadelphia: Multilingual Matters. Ch.7-11 (Option II, large reading) Due: 02/19 (W).

Eugene's questions:

  1. What is additive and subtractive bilingualism (give your own examples)? Describe instrumental and integrative attitudes to bilingualism. What kind of attitude the Barrios Unidos kids have? What are cultural, societal, and situational contributions to children's motivation to learn second language?
  2. Describe different theories of second language learning (try to use examples from Barrios Unidos). Which one you consider more useful and why? What is the difference between learning first and second languages?
  3. How does bilingualism relate to cognition? What were positive and negative effects of attributed as result of bilingualism for cognition? What were the results of IQ measurements and that is their validity (and historical change)?
  4. What are alternative to IQ methods for measuring cognition and what are their relationship to bilingualism? What is the "thresholds" theory? What are explanations for bilingualism contributions to cognition? What are cognitive consequences of bilingualism you have noticed at Barrios Unidos?
  5. Describe cognitive theories of relationship between the first and second languages and their critiques.
  6. Put on the cognitive-demand and context embeddedness two-dimension diagram (pp.139, 143) such types of guidance as: students group work, student's reading a book, student's playing computer game, student's working on the project, student's observing other students' work, student's participation in testing (you can think of other types of guidance).
  7. Describe types of bilingual education. Which one is more effective? How can success of immersion bilingual programs in Canada be explained (how this situation is different from US)? Which ones can describe bilingual education occurring at Barrios Unidos?

Topic 8. Non-verbal communication.

______Flavell, J. H., Green, F. L., & Flavell, E. R. (1995). The development of children's knowledge about attentional focus. Developmental Psychology, 31, 706-712. (Option I) Due: 02/24 (M).

Eugene's questions:

  1. Who decided relevance and relation of the objects (events) that children claimed to be attended?
  2. What is emerging picture of young children's understanding of attention and how it changes with age?
  3. What community represent the children participating in Flavell's experiments? Do you think that children from culturally different communities will demonstrate similar developmental pattern?
  4. What is the authors' underlined assumptions and values about attention management? Why do you think they hold such assumptions and values?
  5. Do you agree with the authors' interpretations of the findings? What have you learned from the presented studies? How do you think people's understanding of other people's attention management contribute to their communication (think what does it mean the command "pay attention!")?
  6. Do you think you can pay attention to different "competing" events simultaneously? Have you noticed how the Barrios Unidos children manage their attention?

______Marcon, R.A. (1985). Variation in children's nonverbal communication as a function of listener and second-language development. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 146, 459-468. (Option II) Due: 02/24 (M).

Eugene's questions:

  1. What is non-verbal communication? Create a list of types on non-verbal communications. Give examples from Barrios Unidos.
  2. Think of examples of children and undergraduate students at Barrios Unidos adjusting their non-verbal communication to local circumstances.
  3. What are the finding of the study? What were similarities and differences among monoligual, limited, and bilingual children? What was the context of the findings? How far can the findings be generalized (e.g., beyond five minutes, with alive people, with adults or children)? What have you learned from the study?
  4. Do your observation of non-verbal communication in Barrios Unidos mono- and bi-lingual children support the presented findings? If not, how do you explain the differences?

Topic 9. Language of decontextualization.

______Minick, N. (1993). Teacher's directives: The social construction of "literal meanings" and "real words" in classroom discourse. In S. Chaiklin & J. Lave (Eds.), Understanding practice: Perspectives on activity and context. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. (Option I) Due: 03/03 (M).

Eugene's questions:

  1. What is representational speech? Can you think of examples from Barrios Unidos? What are its functions and implications? Why is it widely used in school and industrial societies? Why do you think people in traditional societies use representational speech less than in industrial?
  2. How do you think representational speech distributed among minority and middle-class white children and why? Where and how middle-class children learn representational speech?
  3. What is the relation between representational speech and school curriculum? What are two cases of commonly used representational speech in classrooms what are their functions? How these functions resolved in informal settings? What are consequences for children who do not fluently use representational speech in school?
  4. What is relation between children's mastery of representational speech and results of traditional measurements of children's cognitive development?
  5. How do you think representational speech relates to unilateral decision making, the idea of transmission of knowledge, and commanding?

______Linell, P. (1992). The embeddedness of decontextualization in the contexts of social practices. In A. H. Wold (Ed.), The dialogical alternative: Towards a theory of language and mind. Stockholm: Scandinavian Press. (Option II) Due: 03/03 (M).

Eugene's questions:

  1. What is decontextualization? Give examples. How and why is decontextualization important for successful accessing and using modern institutions?
  2. Where do you think children learn decontextualization and how? What kinds of population of children has more and less opportunities to learn decontextualization and why?
  3. How decontextualization relate to contextualization?
  4. What are negative and positive consequences of decontextualization?
  5. What is the difference between situated and global decontextualized practices, according to Linell?
  6. Have you noticed processes of decontextualization and contextualization at Barrios Unidos? If so, what are their functions?