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Setting an object of knowledge in motion through Davydov’s learning activity
Stockholm University. (Kunskapskulturer och undervisningspraktiker)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0764-5728
Stockholm University.
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this study, we discuss learning activity as an educational tool to enhance the goal of setting an object of knowledgein motion and thus developing students’ theoretical thinking. Radford has argued that In order for an object ofknowledge to become an object of thought and consciousness, it has to be set in motion. It has to acquire culturaldeterminations; that is, it has to acquire content and connections in process of contrast with other things, therebybecoming more and more concrete. And the only manner by which concepts can acquire cultural determinations isthrough specific activities (Radford, 2015 p. 10-11). We are particularly interested in presenting some results aboutthe motion of objects from a study based on the so-called Elkonin-Davydov mathematical program and learningactivity. The aim of the study was to make students experience rational numbers as numbers through measuringlengths. In the study, two groups of teachers tried to find ways to explore rational numbers in five groups of Grade4 students, aged 8 to 10 years old, in a Swedish compulsory school. As the initial step, a problematic situation wasintroduced to the students. The situation was designed to be transformed by the students into a learning activity(Davydov, 2008; Zuckerman, 2007). They were given a length (e.g., a black Cuisenaire rod) and a smaller length touse as units of measure (e.g., a red Cuisenaire rod), but making the black rod have an equal length with red rodswas not possible. This problematic situation can be described as a double stimulation in which known methods andtools are experienced by the students as insufficient (i.e., they could not choose other rods). To overcome theproblem built into the situation, the students need to find a new method or model (Sannino, 2014; Vygotsky, 1987).This type of need is central to Davydov’s model and is seen as a source of students’ engagement in a problemsolvingwork. In a situation like this the students may ask themselves questions such as: What problem do we needto solve? What tools do we have access to? What problem is related to the tools and models we know? What typeof model can we design that will help us solve the problem? How can we explore and test different models? Howefficient is the new model? If the students engage in a type of work like this, according to Davydov, a learning activityis established. In what ways can this also be understood as “a specific activity,” in which an object of knowledge isset in motion? In this specific activity, the students and the teacher discussed the object of knowledge by developinga model for rational numbers, inspired by the work of Davydov and TSvetkovich (1991). This model evolved from adiscussion of the fraction part in a mixed number as “a little bit more” (represented as B = W + “a little bit more”) toa general model represented as B = W + p/w (B for a black Cuisenaire rod, W for the whole part, p for part, and wfor the white Cuisenaire rod in the fraction part). From this general model the students wanted the model to bechanged the specific measurement: B = W red + p/w red. The model started in the general and became more andmore concrete. In this study, we argue that when the students realize that “a little bit more” of the red rods is needed,the development of a possible model emerged (H. Eriksson, 2015). The model of rational numbers was developedthrough the collaboration between students and the teacher. The results show that the students, together with theirteacher, discussed 1) the whole in relation to the parts, 2) the units in relation to the object to be measured, 3) wholenumbers in relation to fractions, 4) the numerator in relation to the denominator, 5) the smaller unit in relation to theunits, 6) entities in relation to units, 7) rational numbers in relation to x and x+1, and 8) the indefinite integers inrelation to the indefinite rational numbers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
Davydov, learning Activity, mathematics
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Subject Learning and Teaching; Subject Learning and Teaching; Subject Learning and Teaching
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-154270OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-154270DiVA, id: diva2:1192219
Conference
International Society for Cultural-historical Activity Research - ISCAR. 5th International Congress August 28th - September 1st 2017 Quebec, Canada
Available from: 2018-03-21 Created: 2018-03-21 Last updated: 2018-03-21

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