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Author Vianna, Eduardo
Title Teaching-and-learning as a developmental tool: Collaborative transformations in a child welfare program
Descript 284 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 67-12, Section: B, page: 7409
Adviser: Anna Stetsenko
Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of New York, 2007
This study aimed at contributing to institutional change and individual development in a residential program for adolescents by integrating insights from Vygotskian cultural-historical psychology and critical pedagogy. My goal was to transform institutional practices away from control and punishment by implementing collaborative, dialogical teaching-and-learning activities that open zones of proximal development (Vygotsky, 1978). These activities gradually expanded the institutional context for learning and dialogue and empowered the residents as agents of institutional and their own transformation. Moreover, placing teaching and learning at the center of this intervention resulted in the emergence of learning as the dominant form of institutional activity as it progressively became a form of self directed activity on the boys' part, which decreased the need for disciplinary measures shifting the activity system of the group home away from custodialiasm (Polsky & Berger, 2003) and helped forge a stronger link between schools and the institution
Drawing on systemic-theoretical instruction and developmental teaching allowed me to help the boys grasp theoretical concepts, which radically transformed the meaning of learning activity as it enabled them to see hidden connections and concretely understand the practical relevance of theoretically mediated forms of reflection for understanding and contributing to the world around us. As a result, the boys' motivation for and attitude toward learning increased steadily as well as the number of boys on college track, which became a leading institutional concern. This had deep consequences for the institution as all participants expanded their vision of the boys' potential. By appropriating learning activity the boys expanded and deepened the possibilities of realizing their dreams and fulfilling their human potential
In conclusion, this study examined how inadequate assumptions about human development, tied to a pathological view of youth living in oppressive circumstances, serve as barriers for change in the child welfare system. It reveals how the quality of instruction can either create impediments for youth development or opportunities to overcome resistance as youth embrace learning as a meaningful activity. Furthermore, this study demonstrates the inseparable dynamic of individual and contextual transformation whereby teaching and learning play a central role in human development
School code: 0046
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 67-12B
Subject Education, Educational Psychology
Psychology, Developmental
Sociology, Public and Social Welfare
Alt Author City University of New York
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