Article: Glassman, Michael. “Dewey and Vygotsky: Society, Experience, and Inquiry in Educational Practice.” American Educational Research Association (2001): 3-14. Electronic Print.
The article, namely Dewey and Vygotsky: Society, Experience, and Inquiry in Educational Practice, was written by Michael Glassman in 2001. The article talks about two different theoretical approaches, one of which is by Vygotsky and the other is by Dewey. These two theoretical approaches are highly lined to educational systems and the activities that take place in such educational systems. The topic of educational practice, especially when it comes to the United States of America, is an illustrious one, with a lot of failures emerging from studies that had run for decades while the educational institutes kept coming up with new challenges, especially in terms of racism and cultural diversity. However, Glassman decided to have a deeper analytical look into the fields of work that were linked to theoretical approaches originally invented and developed by Vygotsky and Dewey. The fact that two theoretical approaches were being undertaken to analyze educational practice and inquire about it seemed quite irrelevant as it had been done so many times, and on numerous occasions, such research had brought out no fruit, only concepts that would later be deemed useless and rejected. However, Glassman decided to undertake such an analytical view anyway. I completely dislike the article that is written by Michael Glassman, not because he used an approach that I don’t like, but because he misused and misinterpreted words that were written by another scholar, and therefore, presenting a very different image of the particular scholar, in this case being Vygotsky.
Firstly, I dislike the article because it clearly violates the general principles of writing a perfect article. Even though the article’s structure follows a very precise pattern and the fact that the article is always in good shape in terms of its writing, the article is still disliked by me because it makes grave errors when undertaking the representation of Vygotsky’s writing in terms of educational practice in real life. One such moment is when Vygotsky’s writing was is represented in the manner that he had not been part of the activity theory, and that his disciples had made such a theory after the death of Vygotsky had already occurred.
This is supported by the commentary on Glassman’s article, where the authors say that, “Furthermore, contrary to Glassman’s (2001, p. 3) statements, Vygotsky did not advocate bringing everyday activities into the classroom or the ways that human activity serves as an impetus to learning.” (Gredler and Shields). They also prove that the activity theory was not part of Vygotsky’s works when they say, “Specifically, Vygotsky’s disciples turned his theory into an activity theory after his death, re- placing the psychological tool as a mediator between objects of action and mental functions with material activity as the media- tor, and careless scholars attribute activity theory to Vygotsky.” (Gredler and Shields). This proves that Glassman had included information in his paper which was invalid and therefore, his arguments and analysis of the two theories that he presented was also invalid. This blatant flaw in the article is what made me dislike the article. What infuriates me about the article even more is the fact that Glassman is a scholar and that he should have never been as careless as to print his writings without confirming and double checking about the accuracy of the information that he is about to include in his own article.
Regardless of the inaccuracy of the article, the article is still put together quite well. The fact that both theories that Glassman had undertaken to observe and analyze in terms of educational practice were maintained in terms of format is something that Glassman should be praised for. I could easily understand when glassman was talking about Vygotsky’s theories and when he was discussing Dewey’s theories. I could also differentiate and find similarities between the two theories, not that I can maintain that knowledge knowing that Vygotsky’s theories were misrepresented in the article. However, the components that put together the entire article written by Glassman are the format of the article, the way Glassman maintains the article’s flow and persuasion tactics for the reader, as well as the clarity with which Glassman writes, so as to make sure that his readers understand and interpret everything that is written, so that Glassman’s own objective of the article is as clear to the reader as possible.
To my own educational experiences, I don’t find Vygotsky’s original theories to be that much representative of US educational systems as the article by Glassman suggests. I find rather the opposite to be true, as the US educational system keeps facing new challenges and coming up with new strategies to tackle such challenges. I also don’t find it necessary for the US educational system to still continue on theories that were presented decades ago, and ones that were not actually even attributed to Vygotsky himself, but to his disciples that emerged after Vygotsky’s death.
Hence, overall, I find the article to be quite bad and useless in terms of research and literature review uses since the article is quite invalid. The article has become more of a political agenda in my perspective as it compares a soviet psychologist with an American psychologist, trying to compare the soviet psychologist’s work with the American psychologist’s work. All of it is too misconstrued to prove any differences or similarities once it has been proven by the commentary on Glassman’s article that his representation of Vygotsky’s theories with educational practices were misinterpreted and therefore, entirely invalid.
Glassman, Michael. “Dewey and Vygotsky: Society, Experience, and Inquiry in Educational Practice.” American Educational Research Association (2001): 3-14. Electronic Print.
Gredler, Margaret and Carol Shields. “Does No One Read Vygotsky’s Words? Commentary on Glassman.” American Educational Research Association (2004): 21-25. Electronic Print.