Social Change Through the Prism of Vygotsky’s Concept: Theory and Practice
On November 2nd, 2021, the 8th meeting of the Moscow CHAT Reading Group “ReadingLive” took place on-line, in which three invited experts and co-authors delivered the presentation of the book «Revisiting Vygotsky for Social Change. Bringing Together Theory and Practice».
Adolfo Tanzi Neto, Head of the Department of Anglo-Germanic Languages, College, of Languages and Arts, at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, opened the session, drawing attention to the social challenges, that Covid-19 has made particularly acute across countries and continents. The invited expert introduced the book, which illustrates how Cultural-Historical Theory might stand for social justice and become a tool that triggers changes for a better life in different contexts.
Manolis Dafermos, Professor of Epistemology of Psychology at the Department of Psychology at the University of Crete, Greece, in his talk touched upon many social challenges of contemporary society, including social injustice in terms of education, environmentally friendly living opportunities, medical care and human rights. The professor outlined that similar challenges were once overcome in the Soviet Union due to the application of Vygotsky’s theory that finds resources for change in considering local traditions and practical interventions in community issues. Therefore, nowadays there is a strong demand for expanding Vygotsky’s legacy to face global contemporary needs by taking an active position in changing and transforming the existing patterns and practices. Applying mediation in education and inclusion processes, resolving contradictions and clashes, fostering agency and developing imagination in younger generations are the possible actions, encouraged by Vygotsky’s theory, that might prevent the humanity from economic, humanitarian and ecological collapses.
The meeting was continued by Fernanda Coelho Liberali, Teacher Educator, Researcher and Professor at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, Brasil. The speaker spoke about Vygotsky’s theory as a cornerstone of social liberation and democratization, particularly focusing on the issue of alternative schooling. Viewing “Digit-Med-Project” and “Brincadas Project”, professor set examples of transformative practices with young people in pursue of constructing a new social order. Curriculum “de-encapsulation” designed for minority group students and disabled schoolchildren, gave them voice and audience to be heard. Under the pandemic, offline practices were transformed into listening-and-sharing online sessions that continued the struggle for elimination of social injustice and creating performative change.
The discussion touched upon various issues, including analysis of personal teaching experience of the participants, debate on the practical methods of engaging and encouraging for social change as well as experts’ comments and advice.
The discussion was moderated by Olga Rubtsova - PhD, Head of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Contemporary Childhood.
Tanzi Neto, A., Liberali, F., Dafermos, M. (2021). Revisiting Vygotsky for Social Change. New York, United States of America: Peter Lang Verlag. Retrieved Oct 8, 2021.
Video of the webinar is available on Youtube
Video materials of the previous meetings:
30.09.2021. Excluded Lives: Critical lessons for future practice and policy concerning exclusion from school after Covid-19
25.05.2021. The ZPD and Second Language Learning: A Method for Future-in-the-Making
19.04.2021. Using double stimulation to understand how significant positive and lasting change can happen in families with young children
02.03.2021. Scaffolding as an embodied process within student-teacher functional system
28.01.2021. P.Y. Galperin’s Development of Human Mental Activity: implications for practice and research
30.11.2020. From the concept of ZPD to the practice of dynamic assessment.
12.10.2020. The Urgency of Agency