Radical-Local Teaching and Learning: A Cultural-Historical Approach

Radical-Local Teaching and Learning: A Cultural-Historical Approach

Radical-Local Teaching and Learning: A Cultural-Historical Approach

Radical-Local Teaching and Learning: A Cultural-Historical Approach

Excerpt

Over the past 20 years we have been developing a perspective about subjectmatter teaching and learning in relation to individual development. Although pedagogical trends and fashions come and go, some basic issues are always present as part of the defining features of pedagogical practice. Two of these problems, which are addressed in this book, are (a) how to conceptualize and organize the subject-matter content to be used in pedagogical interactions, and (b) how to develop desired psychological capabilities through pedagogical interactions with subject-matter content. While these problems can be addressed in general terms, it is also necessary to relate the general perspectives to the local historical conditions within which pedagogical interactions are conducted. From this point of view, general theoretical perspectives become interesting when they serve to guide efforts to realise a practice in a specific historical context, while practical efforts should be evaluated in relation to a general theoretical perspective. In turn, practical work challenges the further development and clarification of our theoretical understanding of how to relate subject-matter teaching to the particular conditions under which children are learning.

The practical research work in this book was conducted in an afterschool program for children in a New York City neighborhood where many of the families have a historical relation to Puerto Rico. The intention is to present an example of the dynamic interaction between theory and practice in a way that will encourage persons with a more practical interest to consider the theoretical arguments, while the more theoretically oriented reader will also consider the practical example. The hope is that the reader will reflect about the ways in which theoretical and practical aspects of pedagogical work can be integrated, to the benefit of both aspects.

At the time that we conducted the project, Mariane Hedegaard was a visiting scholar at Teachers College, Columbia University, while Seth Chaiklin was a Project Director at the Institute for Learning Technologies at Teachers College, Columbia University. The afterschool project was conducted in collaboration with Pedro Pedraza as a project at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, City University of New York, with support from the Exxon Foundation. This collaboration was essential for the development of the project. We thank Pedro . . .

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