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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 9 A NOTE ON RESEARCH METHODS 9.1 An Equation Between Two Unknowns In Vygotsky’s research of the cultural (mediated) development of chil- dren, he departed from S-R as the principal mechanism in orthodox psychological research and by contrast, envisaged S-X-R as the higher developmental mechanism. This changed entirely the nature of devel- opment as the research problem and, in relation, the demand for the research method. As Vygotsky argues, the nature of the problem and of the method must go hand in hand; for this reason, it was necessary to research not just one but two unknown factors, i.e., both the experimen- tal method and the fi ndings. The material and method of research are closely related. For this reason, research acquires a completely different form and course when it is linked to fi nding a new method suitable to the new problem; in that case, it differs radically from those forms in which the study simply applies developed and established scientifi c meth- ods to new areas (Vygotsky, 1997c, p. 27). Similarly, the research methodology adopted in this study could be lik- ened to an equation between two unknowns. First, this study differs from the mainstream in the conceptualisation of teaching and teacher socialisation. Contrary to orthodox conceptualisation of teaching and socialisation as causal origins of learning, this study maintains an acausal and apperceptive understanding of the research problem. It is held that educational infl uences originate from teacher’s intrapsychol- ogy, which is then mediated in teacher-student interpsychology before being...

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