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Vygotsky’s psycho-semiotics

Theories, instrument and interpretive analyses- In collaboration with Frith Luton

Charlotte Hua Liu

Reviewing and elaborating L. S. Vygotsky’s view of language mediated development, this work presents an extension of the Russian thinker’s developmental psycho-semiotics to an educational psycho-semiotics. Interpreting original discussions of tool-mediation as developmental mechanism, this book addresses the question of what occurs in the interpersonal environment that enables the internalisation of tool and the development of thinking. Filling in a gap in Vygotsky’s theoretical framework, it discusses in detail inter-psychological processes as the social origins of changes in the intra-psychological domain.
Besides theoretical descriptions, this book also offers an original instrument for educational research or practitioners’ reflection of micro-genetic processes of interaction and change. This instrument is then applied in interpretive analyses of real-life classroom exchanges.

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CHAPTER 3 - INTERPSYCHOLOGICAL INTERACTION

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CHAPTER 3 INTERPSYCHOLOGICAL INTERACTION “Social relations or relations among people genetically underlie all higher functions and their relationships” (Vygotsky, 1981, p. 163). The term ‘social relations’ does not refer to the social amiability in a gen- eral sense as it is interpreted by many post-structuralist writers. Rather, social relations refer to the authentic encounter between thinking minds. As suggested in the previous chapter, such interpersonal relationship is where intrapsychological refl ection is initiated. In Chapter Four, a theory of interpsychological transaction is dis- cussed. Teaching and learning are postulated to be conjoint, appercep- tive processes. Proximal learning environments are characterised by an acausal and apperceptive cycle that begins in the teacher’s intrapsy- chology. The intrapsychology of the teacher as the mediator of learning makes a difference fi rst in the teacher-student interpsychology, and then in students’ intrapsychology. The tripartite cycle is the central premise of the present educational psycho-semiotic theory. 3.1 Apperception and Learning A common myth about perception is that it is a simple, natural physi- ological function of the visual optical system, unrelated to psychology. But the fact is all individuals create their own versions of reality and sense of vision with the collaboration of eyes and brains. In the whole of human and animal kingdom, only humans and apes can recognise them- selves in the mirror (Greenfi eld, 2000). The development from animal to human perception is not a quantitative, biological process but a quali- tative leap ‘from the zoological to the historical form of psychological evolution’ (Vygotsky...

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