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Psychological Science and Education

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

ISSN (printed version): 1814-2052

ISSN (online): 2311-7273


License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published since 1996

Published 6 times a year

Free of fees
Open Access Journal


Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete as a Principle of Expansive Learning 815


Engeström Y.
PhD, Professor Emeritus of Education, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

The article examines the potential of the dialectical principle of ascending from the abstract to the concrete for transforming practices of learning. It is shown that V.V. Davydov’s work has created a foundation for such transformation. The theory of expansive learning builds on Davydov’s legacy and brings the principle of ascending from the abstract to the concrete into learning and concept formation outside schools, “in the wild.” Three studies investigating different scales of expansive learning are discussed, focusing on the internally contradictory germ cells discovered and used in those studies. The article concludes by emphasizing the need to integrate Davydov’s revolutionary pedagogy and the broader agenda of school transformation as part of societal transformation.

Keywords: dialectics, ascending from the abstract to the concrete, expansive learning, germ cell, learning cycles

Column: V.V. Davydov’s Scientific School: Traditions and Innovations


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