1. Barbara Rogoff
  2. https://people.ucsc.edu/~brogoff/
  3. UCSC Foundation Professor of Psychology
  4. Learning through Observing and Pitching In to Community Activities
  5. https://learningbyobservingandpitchingin.sites.ucsc.edu/
  6. University of California, Santa Cruz
  1. Lucía Alcalá
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Lucia_Alcala
  3. Assistant Professor
  4. Learning through Observing and Pitching In to Community Activities
  5. https://learningbyobservingandpitchingin.sites.ucsc.edu/
  6. California State University Fullerton
  1. Omar Ruvalcaba
  2. http://www-tecc-lab.com
  3. Assistant Professor
  4. Learning through Observing and Pitching In to Community Activities
  5. https://learningbyobservingandpitchingin.sites.ucsc.edu/
  6. California State University - Northridge
 
 
 
 
Facilitators’, Presenters’,
& Public Choice
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 12, 2019 | 06:12 p.m.

    The impact of this project is for viewers to understand a sophisticated way of thinking together that they otherwise might overlook. The Mexican-heritage children’s fluid synchrony in collaboration is a model for learning through social interaction, and a cultural strength. Have you seen this or experienced such fluid synchrony? Where? Under what circumstances?

    We think that awareness of distinct forms of collaboration can have impact on classroom practice, as schools at all levels try to broaden participation in STEM and other subjects. Would this require changes in how teachers arrange for classroom collaboration?

    Our project also can impact informal learning settings, by calling attention to strengths for learning together that seem to be common in Mexican-heritage and Indigenous-heritage homes and communities. Do you have questions or speculations on the ways that children learn to think together with fluid synchrony?

     
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    Ateng' Ogwel
    Garrett Jaeger
    Enrique Margery
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    KT Fields

    May 16, 2019 | 12:46 p.m.

    I've seen it ALL OVER THE PLACE in Native American communities.  From birth, children are taught non-verbally to communicate and work with each other.  It is confirmed in the many, usually ceremonial, dances that they've learned over the years.  PLUS, there is absolutely NO retribution for asking over-and-over-again, "How did you say to do that ???"

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 12:47 a.m.

    Hi KT, Makes sense!  Do you have an example that you could describe, to help us visualize this?  Either the ways that the ceremonial dances show this, or how the children are taught nonverbally to communicate and work with each other?

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 12, 2019 | 09:08 p.m.

    We hope you will join the discussion!

  • Small default profile

    Diana Kotzin

    Researcher
    May 15, 2019 | 08:12 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing this interesting and brief video for viewing!  The research is very subtle and so the

    pictures (video) is especially helpful for both definition of fluid synchrony and teaching teachers how to

    cultivate these behaviors.

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 02:50 a.m.

    Hi Diana!  Yes, the videos help immensely with showing what is meant.  Also, I notice that people remember my videos years after they see them.  I'm not so sure they remember what I write or say so long!

  • Icon for: Sharon Nelson-Barber

    Sharon Nelson-Barber

    Researcher
    May 13, 2019 | 11:47 a.m.

    Very important findings that apply to my work with many Indigenous communities as well.

     
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    Barbara Rogoff
    Lucía Alcalá
  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 12:10 p.m.

    Thank you for your interest, Sharon. I can see how these findings might be integrated into your "Indigenous Mapping" project or other work with indigenous communities. But I'm curious to learn more about your ideas on how you might apply these findings to your work. 

     
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    Barbara Rogoff
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 02:44 p.m.

    Hi Sharon!  Yes, we'd love to know how you can use these findings in your work.

  • May 13, 2019 | 12:53 p.m.

    Beautiful video! Do you find that the tendency to use fluid synchrony decreases when students spend time in classrooms and schools where other cultures are dominant?

     
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    Itzel Aceves-Azuara
    Nicole Wong
    Lucía Alcalá
    Barbara Rogoff
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 02:12 p.m.

    Thanks!  Yes.  It looks that way.  In the first study, we looked at children from US Mexican heritage whose families had extensive schooling backgrounds.  Their extent of fluid synchrony fell in between that of the US Mexican Indigenous-heritage pairs (whose families had only basic schooling) and the middle-class European American pairs.  This is reported in PNAS, 2018.

     
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    Itzel Aceves-Azuara
    Nicole Wong
  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    Co-Director of CSR at TERC
    May 13, 2019 | 02:16 p.m.

    Barbara, I really enjoyed this video. Does this research still continue now that the NSF grant is over or are these findings from the 2008 project? If these are new findings can you share how you were able to  sustain and grow this effort over time? Sustainability is always a challenge for projects!

    I was wondering if there are school settings/tasks that favor competition over collaboration, and hence perhaps unknowingly, disadvantage those children from Mexican heritage? Do you have recommendations how collaboration rather than competition can be fostered in formal educational settings?

     
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    Nicole Wong
    Salvador Huitzilopochtli
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 02:42 p.m.

     Hi Joni!  NSF funded an interdisciplinary, international research consortium of about 40 researchers who investigate learning and the arrangements for learning in Indigenous-heritage communities of the Americas.  This is Learning by Observing and Pitching In to family and community endeavors (LOPI).  The studies we present here stemmed from the NSF funding, and we continue the research with small pockets of money.  In the meantime, new investigators continue to join the consortium.

     
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    Joni Falk
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 02:52 p.m.

    Joni, you also asked about whether there are school settings/tasks that favor competition over collaboration.  Yes, there's a pretty extensive literature showing that many of the formats used in schools promote competition and not collaboration.  Among them would be grading on a curve and tight age-grading in classrooms. 

    However, some schools foster collaboration in their organization.   I've written about principles of learning collaboratively in a book co-authored with teachers, a principal, parents, and students in an innovative public K-6 (now K-8) school in Salt Lake City, where children collaborate with each other and adults and children also collaborate -- Learning Together: Adults and Children in a School Community (Oxford, 2001). 

     
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    Nicole Wong
    Joni Falk
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 02:59 p.m.

    You also asked whether some school settings/ tasks disadvantage Mexican-heritage children who may be skilled in collaboration.  Omar Ruvalcaba points out that the ways that the activities are set up, even in collaborative activities, may not allow for the strengths of the Mexican-heritage children.  For example, when the task is set up with turn-taking or other separate roles dividing up the shared decision-making, this does not allow for the really fine-tuned fluid synchrony that we found was common among the Mexican-heritage children in the second study reported in our video (Ruvalcaba, Rogoff, & López Fraire, in preparation). 

    Omar, can you elaborate?

     
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    Nicole Wong
  • Icon for: Omar Ruvalcaba

    Omar Ruvalcaba

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 12:42 a.m.

    Sure, Barbara. I believe it is essential to consider the affordance of the task as well and the context. 

    Often, collaboration in school contexts is framed around the assumption that all collaboration uses turns. Also, researchers and teachers often emphasize equal opportunities to participate. Even researchers looking to understand collaboration create situations that emphasize a turn-taking approach (timers, emphasis on equal turns). As in several studies with different cultural communities, we did not find this was the only approach used by Mexican-heritage children. In addition to the highlighted work, a publication in collaboration with Linda Werner and Jill Denner (Ruvalcaba, Werner, Denner, 2010) demonstrated variance in pairs of middle school age girls who were Mexican-heritage, European-American, and mixed cultural background (one was Mexican-heritage and the other European-American). In the mixed pair, it was interesting to note that the nonverbal bids for attention/collaboration went unnoted by the European-America partner. The Mexican-heritage girl initiated some attempts nonverbally then transitioned to verbal means after several nonverbal attempts. 

    I'm intrigued by how different experiences with different types of schooling may influence Mexican-heritage children's collaborative approaches. Given that the schools with a large percentage of Mexican-heritage children tend to be low income and emphasize classroom management in the USA, I wonder how this early experience might relate to the initiative to collaborate later in life. 

     
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    Salvador Huitzilopochtli
  • Icon for: Patrick Moyle

    Patrick Moyle

    Professional Learning Specialist
    May 13, 2019 | 02:58 p.m.

    Wow, this is such an interesting topic. It makes me think of my 11 years as a middle school teacher in central California and my experiences working with Mexican-heritage students. 

    I wonder what implications you see for a classroom teacher who has a mixed classroom of cultural-backgrounds. 

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 05:30 p.m.

    Hi Patrick, I'm curious about your observations as a milddle school teacher working with Mexican-heritage students.  Did you see anything related to our observations of sophisticated forms of collaboration?

  • May 13, 2019 | 03:10 p.m.

    Thanks for this video - do I understand correctly that this is only in tasks where collaboration is set up explicitly as part of the task, as opposed to say, non-facilitated exploration? I wonder how collaboration among these groups would play out in say, navigating a family visit to a museum.

    Also, does this hold across non-family (i.e. independent) groups who share similar cultural heritage?

     
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    Itzel Aceves-Azuara
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 03:58 p.m.

    Hi Katie,  No, it's not just in explicitly set-up tasks -- I was just replying above to questions about classroom situations.  Observations in informal settings have described similarly fluid synchrony in collaboration.  (Such as in the work of Ruth Paradise and Mariette de Haan.)  It is a sophisticated, 'organic', improvisational form of collaboration that I would guess would be more common outside of explicit 'tasks.'

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 04:01 p.m.

    In our video, the second study (programming a computer game character) was not family groups -- the children were classmates.  It's a good question what would happen when people are strangers to each other, though, like strangers interacting at an exhibit.  Anyone have any observations to answer that question?

  • Icon for: Rabiah Mayas

    Rabiah Mayas

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 04:03 p.m.

    This is such an interesting project!  It takes me immediately to the scholarship around makerspace and maker-based learning experiences for youth and how competitions (in a variety of settings) reward certain sociocultural backgrounds.  I'm curious about two elements of your findings:

    1) Does gender (of each child and of the pair) correlate with the levels of collaboration, and are there differences between the European and Mexican heritage groups? 2) Are the Mexican-heritage youth in the study of similar SES background as the middle-class European-American youth? And if not, how does SES track with collaboration behavior? I'm not sure if non-middle class European-American youth were in the study.

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 05:14 p.m.

    Hi Rabiah, These are great questions. In the planning task, we looked at gender differences and the only difference we found was with brother-sister dyads spending more time ignoring each other across both groups but it was not the main focus of the analysis. However, in the Euro-American group, there were a few pairs where both boys and girls spent more time excluding their sibling. 

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 05:39 p.m.

    Hi Rabiah, Regarding the questions about SES -- We do not regard SES as a separate 'variable' from culture.  In any cultural community, there are many related features -- which include extent of Western schooling, engagement in community practices, religion, language(s) used, and so on.  We refer to these as cultural constellations in trying to distinguish this more holistic approach from an approach that equates culture with ethnicity and distinguishes it from SES, religion, language, etc.   We write about this approach in:

    Rogoff, B., Najafi, B., & Mejía-Arauz, R. (2014). Constellations of cultural practices across generations: Indigenous American heritage and Learning by Observing and Pitching In. Human Development, 57, 82-95.

     
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    Itzel Aceves-Azuara
    Laleh Cote
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 05:46 p.m.

    More specifically to your question about SES -- We do look closely at family involvement in Western schooling (which of course correlates with many other aspects of cultural constellations).  In several studies (including the first one shown in our video, on planning imaginary grocery store trips), US Mexican-heritage children from families with extensive Western schooling (and related practices) showed a mixed pattern.  Their ways of working together were in between the very sophisticated fluid collaboration common among the US Mexican-heritage children from families with likely involvement in Indigenous practices (and only basic schooling) and the divided decision-making common among the middle-class European American children (from families with extensive schooling and related practices).

  • Icon for: Rabiah Mayas

    Rabiah Mayas

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2019 | 12:58 a.m.

    Thank you both for the delayed reply and the reference to your 2014 paper. I was previously unfamiliar with the concept of cultural constellations and appreciate this framing as something we might draw from in our own work with after school middle grade students. It's really interesting to hear that the Mexican-heritage children with extensive Western-exposure families showed a mixed pattern. Curious if the collaboration styles present with something like code switching, such that one style is dialed up or down based on the current environment?

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 01:19 a.m.

    Yes, code-switching is a great way to look at it. 

    In one study, we investigated children's spontaneous helping in two situations -- helping with household work and helping an instructor in a science activity (López Fraire, Rogoff, & Alcalá, in prep).  The US Mexican-heritage children from families with greater connection to Indigenous practices (and only basic schooling) showed more initiative in helping in both situations than the middle-class European American children. Showing 'code switching,' the US Mexican-heritage children whose families had extensive Western schooling helped out with initiative at home, but in the science activity, they did not spontaneously help the instructor much.  So it looks like they have learned to help at home but not in an instructional situation.

    You can look at our 2018 video which shows the helping situation and clips from that study.

  • Icon for: Itzel Aceves-Azuara

    Itzel Aceves-Azuara

    May 20, 2019 | 01:17 p.m.

    Hi Rabiah, I think you bring an interesting question. I also wonder how children decide which is the appropriate context to collaborate or not. What research suggests is that it depends on previous experiences, but I wonder if there are cases in which children decide to use collaborative approaches even if context like schools do not encourage it. In my experience, I think that sometimes groups still use collaborative strategies, even if the environment does not welcome such interactions.

  • Icon for: Jennifer Mendenhall

    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Sr. Communications Lead
    May 13, 2019 | 04:26 p.m.

    This is so interesting — one of the hurdles teachers in our project have struggled to overcome is related to helping students scaffold collaborative inquiry. It's fascinating that you have identified a cultural divide in how adept students are at this type of collaboration. I'm curious — did you look at how the interactions changed with different group sizes?

     

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 05:20 p.m.

    Hi Jennifer, This is a great question. I know of a couple of studies with triads where Mexican-heritage children show fluid ways of collaboration than European-American triads. For example, a study by Rebeca Mejía-Arauz and colleagues shows striking cultural differences in an origami task. In non-controlled tasks, based on ethnographic observations, I've noticed that indigenous children, such as Maya children in Yucatan Mexico, very often spend time in groups. This includes playing or in work-related activities, but they are rarely spending time alone. I've seen them collaborate fluidly with children and adults. However, it would be interesting to design a controlled-study with larger groups. Do you think that the interactions might change with a group of 4 or 5 members? 

  • Icon for: Jennifer Mendenhall

    Jennifer Mendenhall

    Sr. Communications Lead
    May 13, 2019 | 05:33 p.m.

    I'd be curious to know how the dynamic changes with larger groups. From strictly a participation and engagement perspective, we've seen that 3 participants tends to be a sweet spot. There is enough diversity in perspective to fuel the conversation and participants tend to feel accountable to one another. With somewhat larger small groups (4 or 5), while the diversity of perspective increases, it's easier for folks to "check out" of the conversation or for two independent discussions to form. I'd be curious how this might play out across cultures that naturally support a more cohesive and complementary collaborative style. 

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 12:40 a.m.

    This would be fascinating to follow up on, Jennifer!  When you  said "we've seen that 3 participants tends to be a sweet spot," what cultural background did the participants come from?

  • Icon for: Itzel Aceves-Azuara

    Itzel Aceves-Azuara

    May 13, 2019 | 09:07 p.m.

    Collaboration is vital for cognitive development. Do you think that collaboration will continue to be supported among Indigenous Heritage families of the Americas in the upcoming/current generations? How can we support spaces that promote collaborative interactions? 

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 10:47 p.m.

    Hi Itzel, I think that as children spend more time in school and communities start to segregate children from mature activities, there might be a change as we have seen with immigrant and indigenous communities with high levels of formal schooling. We could encourage children to engage in collaborative practices in the classroom setting by changing the traditional school classroom. But I'm curious to learn more about your ideas on how we could promote collaborative interactions. 

     
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    Itzel Aceves-Azuara
  • Icon for: Noah Feinstein

    Noah Feinstein

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 11:00 p.m.

    Hi Barbara, Lucia, and Omar! It's such a treat to get this glimpse into your more recent work, and reminds me that I need to go back and read all those papers. As I was watching this, I thought a lot about the way that research groups achieve intersubjectivity in the way that they see and interpret social phenomena. In particular, the idea Fluid Synchrony is such an important part of this work - can you tell me more about how the members of your group learned to "see" this happening? Was it easy for everybody? Were there cultural differences in who could see it right away and who had to learn? 

    I'm interested in this as a researcher but also as someone who would like to see this perspective on collaboration and culture inform the design of learning experiences across contexts (including in museums, where I tend to work). It seems to me that one would need to really get a good feel for what fluid synchrony looked and felt like to be able to design environments that (a) create opportunities for and reward this kind of collaboration, and (b) help kids and adults learn to do it! 

    Thanks again for doing this work, and for sharing it here. 

     
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    Nicole Wong
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 12:09 a.m.

    Hi Noah, What great questions!  You asked how our research group learned to 'see' Fluid Synchrony.  For me, it has been a process of decades to learn to see this -- extending at least as far back as our 1993 SRCD Monograph, in which we first analyzed the data ethnographically, by writing extensive descriptions of what was going on between mothers and their small children.  This process got us to see aspects of the interactions that are closely related to Fluid Collaboration.  By then, I had spent several years working in the Guatemalan Mayan community where I have learned so much.  Subsequent to that, I learned an enormous amount from students and colleagues for whom Fluid Synchrony is a common way of engaging -- especially those from Guatemalan Mayan, Mexican, and other Indigenous communities of the Americas -- including my copresenters of this video, Lucia Alcalá and Omar Ruvalcaba.  For them, it may have been easy to see Fluid Synchrony all along -- but it was a long process across several decades, for us to be able to articulate what Fluid Synchrony involves.  And to be able to code it with reliability.  By now we have a number of publications on Fluid Synchrony, and each one helps us see it and describe it better. The references can be found on the LOPI Website.

    I hope that some of my colleagues will also address your question, from their own perspectives.

     
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    Noah Feinstein
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 12:26 a.m.

    So you wondered if we've seen cultural differences in being able to see Fluid Synchrony.  I think so, based on what I said in my prior response as well as my experience training research assistants to code videodata.  For some RAs, it was just common sense to see this.  I'm thinking especially of a Navajo RA who was so good at seeing and also describing such interactions, but there have been many other Indigenous-heritage RAs for whom Fluid Synchrony was not news.  On the other hand, there have been a number of coders who struggled -- and they tended to come from backgrounds that focus heavily on written words; they had a challenge even to see nonverbal aspects of interaction.

    We have some evidence of cultural differences among children in seeing Fluid Synchrony.  Amy Dexter (Roberts) and I asked Mexican-heritage US children and European American children to comment on clips from our video data -- 2 clips from triads of Mexican heritage children and 2 clips from triads of European American children.  The clips epitomized the contrasts that we described in this NSF video.  The European American children often said that the children in the Mexican clips were not collaborating because they were not talking much.  [The children in those clips were collaborating more, but indeed were not talking much.]  In contrast, the Mexican-heritage US children commented that the children in the Mexican clips were collaborating more [which they were], because they were talking more [not in words, though, but in nonverbal forms of communication - "talking with hands and eyes"].  So these data support the idea that cultural practices shape what we see when we watch Fluid Collaboration. 

    Roberts, A.L.D., & Rogoff, B. (2012). Children’s reflections on two cultural ways of working together: “Talking with hands and eyes” or requiring words. International Journal of Educational Psychology, 1, 73-99.

     
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    Nicole Wong
    Noah Feinstein
  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 01:28 a.m.

    Hi Noah, This is such a great question! Growing up in a small village, I was always participating in some type of work and most of the time working in groups. For me it was easy to 'get it' but because it was something very common for me, it was difficult to articulate this to other people. The diversity in our research group was crucial for having multiple conversations on how to articulate the idea of 'fluid synchrony' or 'fluid ensemble' and to find ways to code the interactions that many times included nonverbal communication reliably. 

     
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    Barbara Rogoff
    Noah Feinstein
  • Icon for: Noah Feinstein

    Noah Feinstein

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2019 | 01:48 a.m.

    Lucía and Barbara - this is such a brilliant example of the culturally situated nature of observation in scientific research (i.e., that people only observe phenomena that culture/gendered experience/etc. prepares them to see). Reminds me of your colleague Donna Haraway's classic work on situated knowledges - I don't think I've ever seen a clearer example in educational research. It may or may not be of interest to you, but I think there is a cool STS-related paper to be written here about the cultural resources that particular researchers bring to bear on this work (and on learning research more generally). If you've written this already, and I missed it, please share the reference. And thanks again!

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 01:33 a.m.

    This is a great idea!  I think you should write it!

    :-)

     
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    Noah Feinstein
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    Marianne Alcala

    K-12 Student
    May 14, 2019 | 01:25 a.m.

    Congratulations on the great video , it was very interesting to watch and the research is verybimportant for improving education.

     
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    Lucía Alcalá
    Barbara Rogoff
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    Marianne Alcala

    K-12 Student
    May 14, 2019 | 01:31 a.m.

    very important*

     
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    Lucía Alcalá
    Barbara Rogoff
  • Icon for: Robert Serpell

    Robert Serpell

    Researcher
    May 14, 2019 | 10:08 a.m.

    Dear Barbara and colleagues, what a rich conversation your video has stimulated ! One way in which different cultures can enrich the process of education is by incorporating distinctive activity patterns into the curriculum. Our case study of educational innovation using the Child-to-child approach in Zambia (references available on request) found that an indigenous cultural practice well established in many rural families had previously been defined as inappropriate for school learning and yet had great potential for enabling children with different individual aptitudes to generate cognitive and social development synergistically. As Barbara notes in her comment above, many out-of-school settings in which children come together would seem to afford more conspicuous opportunities for fluid synchrony than the Western-origin traditional practices of classroom instruction that dominate IPBS (institutionalised public basic schooling) around the world. In Africa, it seems to me that the cultural practice of inclusive participation in dancing at weddings has a powerful affordance for fluid synchrony and ensemble that could be more effectively deployed in STEM and other curriculum domains if teachers were oriented to capitalise on it instead of banning it to the playground.

     

     

     
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    Lucía Alcalá
  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 05:12 p.m.

    Hi Robert, I agree with you. I think that dancing at community events and participating in the overall organization of community-wide celebrations could be important and effective ways to broaden STEM and other curricula. However, this would require teachers to engage in a 'paradigm shift' to see the potential implications of these practices. But I'm wondering how you would use dancing in groups as a way to support STEM curriculum and would love to hear your ideas on this topic. 

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 05:12 p.m.

    Interesting point, Robert!  The playground may be a model for informal STEM learning.  You may have noticed that the 3 little girls examining and taking care of a bug, on our opening and closing videos, were on their school playground.  They are Mapuche children in Chile, participants in a research study of Paula Alonqueo Boudon.  We're so grateful to Paula and the 3 little girls for letting us feature the girls' playground experimentation.

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 05:22 p.m.

    You pointed out that the cultural practice of inclusive participation in dancing at weddings has a powerful affordance for fluid synchrony and ensemble that could be deployed in STEM and other curriculum domains.  Yes and yes.  This would be a great context for shared decision-making in fluid synchrony.  (Think of tango, where fluid synchrony is the epitome.  I've read that learning tango is one of the best ways to head off memory loss -- both because of the complex thinking involved in the dance form and because of the thinking involved in social coordination.)

    Do you have suggestions of how cultural practices that involve fluid synchrony could be used for STEM and other curricular innovations?

  • Icon for: Pei-Ling Hsu

    Pei-Ling Hsu

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2019 | 12:09 a.m.

    This is so interesting. I wonder whether the nature of the task would play a role in mediating the different styles of collaborations? Like working on a math problem might be different than working on a engineering problem?

    Also, does the "fluid synchrony" generate higher rate of completing certain tasks? or higher levels of engagements? How may the "fluid synchrony" contribute to learning?

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 01:18 a.m.

    Hi Pei-Ling, Thanks for engaging!  You asked how fluid synchrony might contribute to learning--  Well, to start with, it involves thinking together and taking into account another person's perspective.  Many researchers and theorists (Piaget and Vygotsky included) have pointed to thinking together as a powerful source of learning and of making shifts in understanding. 

    You might be wondering whether fluid synchrony offers something beyond the kind of collaboration that involves starting with proposals.  We don't have data to answer that, but I see it as an efficient form of collaboration.  When partners are able to work in fluid synchrony, making proposals may be an interruption, or might be a strategy to handle glitches. 

    I'm just guessing here -- I would be really curious to know what others think about this question!

  • Icon for: Itzel Aceves-Azuara

    Itzel Aceves-Azuara

    May 20, 2019 | 01:40 p.m.

    Hi Pei-Ling! 

    I think industrialized societies have focused more on issues of efficiency, accuracy, and profitable solutions to issues. That is why sometimes we could ask, so how does collaboration help finishing tasks?  Nevertheless,  I think that fluid synchrony comes from a different perspective, that fits with Indigenous communities of the Americas worldview. This vision prioritizes inclusion and collaborative engagements since mutuality, reciprocity, synchrony, and harmony and highly valued. 

  • Icon for: Robert Serpell

    Robert Serpell

    Researcher
    May 15, 2019 | 01:56 a.m.

    Thanks for the focused feedback, Lucia and Barbara.

    In the Zambian case study of the CtC approach, children at Kabale school learned about graphs as a way of representing the growth of an infant’s weight over time, linked to prosocial engagement in their home settings with monitoring the health of a younger sibling or neighbor. During class-time their teacher, Paul Mumba, divided his 7th grade class of 60+ into mixed-gender, multi-ability groups of 6, who were assigned to discuss within their group the solution to a specific problem posed to the whole class. (eg if an infant’s growth curve through months 6, 7 & 8 continues on the same slope what will be her weight at 9 months ?) It was remarkable to observe the way in which this pedagogical method afforded opportunities for every child to participate in a specific cognitive activity within a single 30-minute class session. We never got inside those groups to observe the quality of interaction in the way your video illustrates so elegantly. But the overall effectiveness of that combination of real-world application of cognitive skills outside the class with peer-supported classroom activity was revealed in both successful mastery of STEM content as evaluated in national exams and long-term impact on prosocial orientation by learners over the course of their later personal development. Former CtC learners we interviewed more than a decade later testified that one of their most powerful recollections was the cooperative learning  arrangement.  

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 02:05 a.m.

    Wow!  It would be really interesting to observe their process.  Did the teacher let the children determine how they would work together, or did he provide some form of structure to the Child-to-Child sessions?

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    Robert Serpell

    Researcher
    May 15, 2019 | 02:41 a.m.

    Paul Mumba wrote about his method as "democratising the classroom".

    http:// www.isec2000.org.uk/abstracts/papers_m/mumba_2.htm

    CtC permeated the whole curriculum, and the groups remained constant across various activities, including both class sessions and outreach project work such as visiting the local health clinic, preparing popular theater dramas on health-related topics, and public health initiatives such as clearing garbage and building pit latrines. As I understand it, the teacher's structuring of cooperative learning in the class sessions was confined to

    (1) composition of the groups with a balance of boys and girls and of learners with stronger and weaker academic performance profiles

    (2) requiring each group to elect two leaders (one academic, one social)

    (3) control of time allocation for group discussion in class

    (4) rotating among the six group members responsibility for reporting the plenary class what the group had arrived at by way of answer to the assigned question

    Competition was construed as between groups, whereas within each group the relations were cooperative.

    In the session I observed, the groups were evidently familiar with the format, and once the teacher gave the sign, all 6 members of each group immediately lent forward across the desk around which they were seated in a pod and started talking to one another. The noise level was considerable with 10 conversations under way in close proximity in the crowded classroom !

    After some minutes, the teacher called a halt to the group discussions and called on each group by its name one by one (Elephants, Zebras, etc) for its designated spokesperson to announce to the whole class what her/his group had decided.

     

     

     

     

     
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    Lucía Alcalá
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    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 08:02 p.m.

    Thanks for the description of his approach!

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    Cristina Granda

    Graduate Student
    May 15, 2019 | 07:13 a.m.

    This is so fascinating! I'm curious if you have or have plans to look at how fluid synchrony develops or is inhibited in early learning environments, e.g. formally in ECE settings and informally at home with caregivers.

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    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 08:06 p.m.

    Hi Cristina, We have some research on very early fluid synchrony, in family groups with mothers, toddlers, and 3-5-year-old siblings.  You can view this in our 3-minute video about cultural aspects of family engagement as an ensemble.

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 10:28 p.m.

    Hi Cristina, Do you think that ECE settings inhibit the development of fluid synchrony? Do you have any examples? 

  • Icon for: Marilyn Fleer

    Marilyn Fleer

    Researcher
    May 16, 2019 | 03:43 a.m.

    We should look and see. I am really curious now about this; but also because I have been working with my colleague Liang Li in China. The orientations of the self to the group also create interesting interactions practices. They are not fluid synchrony, but something else. We are trying to figure it out; this research in the video is so inspiring. It gives new directions for our thinking too.

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    Cristina Granda

    Graduate Student
    May 16, 2019 | 10:40 a.m.

    Hi Lucia, I ask about inhibition because I am looking at ways to move parent and teacher education beyond the simple dyadic model of language development,  given that many early language environments consist of frequent multiparty conversations, both in families and formal ECE settings. So I am curious if early language environments may be promoting or inhibiting children's capacity to collaborate as an ensemble. 

     
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    Lucía Alcalá
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    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 09:10 p.m.

    That's a great question. I think that when young children are very skilled in participating in multiparty conversations - showing fluid synchrony and attending to more than one event at a time. However, when they are in the classroom setting, they may have a hard time with the hierarchical dyadic model that does not take into account their home practices.  

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    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 12:43 a.m.

    This is in response to Marilyn's comment that she and Liang Li are examining interaction practices in China.  This will be very interesting as you figure it out.  Do you or Liang Li have a first guess as to a way to describe it?  Can you tell us?

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    Olga Martínez

    Researcher
    May 15, 2019 | 09:57 a.m.

    It's amazing to watch the difference between children from diferents backgrounds. I work as a teacher at the university in Oaxaca, one of my students, she is a profesor in a Centro de maestros of basic school, in the Sierra Mixe. Her thesis presents the way they have done training professor por the last decade. I think your research and videos could be so interesting for them to watch, so they can continue working in this way, because they don't agree with the educational model by competences. Thank you!

     
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    Lucía Alcalá
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    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 08:11 p.m.

    Wow, Olga!  That's so inspiring!  I would love to know about your friend's observations of how "they can continue working in this way."  What are they finding gets in the way of working in this way?  And have they found some ways to work in this way anyway?

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 11:09 p.m.

    Olga, Congratulations on the important work you are doing with your students in the Mixe community! I'm also interested in learning more about your research on resisting the educational model by 'competencias' - which is often in conflict with the ways learning is organized in the communities. Do you have any findings from your student's thesis? 

  • Icon for: Itzel Aceves-Azuara

    Itzel Aceves-Azuara

    May 20, 2019 | 01:47 p.m.

    Dear Olga, 

    Have you observed transformations in the collaborative approaches in the way Indigenous Oaxaca teacher and children interact while teachers are at training? I have noted that sometimes, before "official training" teachers use family and community approaches to interact in the classroom, but the more they know about the curriculum, the least they use Indigenous approaches. What has been your experience? 

  • Icon for: Deanna Privette

    Deanna Privette

    i3 STEM Grant Coordinator
    May 15, 2019 | 12:12 p.m.

    Collaboration is such an important life skill for people to have.  It's very interesting to me to see the difference.  I would be interested to observe interaction between a child of Mexican heritage collaborate with a child of European American heritage and note the differences.  Have you observed any such collaboration?

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    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 02:25 a.m.

    We have not done studies mixing children of different cultural backgrounds, but it would be very interesting to see the efforts to work together of teams with both Mexican-heritage and European American middle-class backgrounds. 

    Based on what I've seen in small group interactions in my own (college) classrooms, I would guess that a child who was not used to fluid synchrony would not be able to easily get into this way of working together.  The pair could collaborate with proposal building (both backgrounds did this a lot, and equally).  Or, if one child was used to dividing tasks up or even resistance, that might prevail. 

     
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    Itzel Aceves-Azuara
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    Anne Kern

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2019 | 04:11 p.m.

    I totally agree with many of the other comments given. My anecdotal experience both my work with Native American communities and my own Asian family, I feel the dependence of working with others, collaboration, etc. can be viewed as a "cultural" construct. From a very early age, Native families depend on family collaboration to support individuals in the family succeed. And this is not just immediate family, close friends, trusted teachers and so-forth are called "Auntie" or "Uncle". I wonder if this early in life behavior and modeling could hold a key to how educators could foster high-quality collaborative behaviors for all students?

     

     
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    Itzel Aceves-Azuara
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 02:40 a.m.

    Maybe it's relevant that observers have noted the importance of cariño in the classrooms of Mexican-heritage teachers.  Cariño can be translated as affection, but I don't think that exactly fits.  Maybe more like warmth and familiarity.

    In a highly collaborative public school in Utah, the warm, familiar relations between adults (parent volunteers, teacher) and children is an important feature encouraging collaboration in all directions.  In a study comparing math problem-solving of pairs of 3rd and 4th graders from the collaborative school or a neighborhood school (with comparable demographics -- mostly white, middle class), one feature stood out:  The children from the collaborative school tried to include the adult (the tester) in the problem-solving, in a friendly, comfortable way ("So Eugene, what do you think about this way of solving it?").  The children were used to collaborating with each other and with adults.  The children from the neighborhood school did not try to collaborate with the adult.  These findings might support your speculation.

    Matusov, E.L., Bell, N., & Rogoff, B. (2002). Schooling as cultural process: Working together and guidance by children from schools differing in collaborative practices. In R.V. Kail & H.W. Reese (Eds.), Advances in Child Development and Behavior (vol. 29). Academic Press.

     
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    Nicole Wong
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    robert serpell

    Guest
    May 16, 2019 | 12:49 p.m.

    This part of the conversation touches on the broader issue - do cultural group differences in this domain arise from differences between groups' cultural repertoires or just in their disposition to deploy certain behavioral routines in the context of a given type of task ? Maybe all humans have a capacity for fluidly synchronous cooperation, but some groups are more inclined to deploy it in these somewhat factitious task settings than others ?

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    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 12:59 a.m.

    Hi Robert, I think these two alternatives should be combined -- I would say that the cultural differences that are shown in our video are evidence of differences in cultural repertoires, which people employ in some circumstances and not others.  Part of development is learning which practice to use in what setting (in addition to getting good at the fluid synchrony itself).  I make this argument in The Cultural Nature of Human Development.

    I think that the patterns we are observing are not used generally across all settings, but they are also not just used in these "somewhat factitious" task settings.  I've certainly observed such differences in my everyday social interactions and in observing groups.  And several participants in this discussion have mentioned seeing this pattern in other settings.

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 01:57 p.m.

    Hi Robert, In addition to what Barbara and others have mentioned here, I've also seen this pattern of fluid synchrony in children's play activities but also while collaborating in work activities. During my fieldwork in Yucatan, we were waiting for the students to join our research group to identify areas in their school that they wanted to improve. Children were eager to fix the swing set and the monkey bars. When we returned with the materials, I had the opportunity to work with four boys (ages 8-10). We replaced the ropes on the swing set, nailed missing bars, and painted the swing set structure. We worked for about two hours, although we had no sense of time - no rush - no pre-designed agenda, we were all just working together. At one point, we needed an extra hammer and Johan, from the top of the swing set, said, "I have one at home. I'll bring it" - he claimed back and ran home to get the hammer. Another boy took over Johan's role, and we continued to work. By lunchtime, children were able to use the playground. The work was frustrating at times but it was also enjoyable, we collaborated fluidly to accomplish a shared goal, and we did it with a certain calm/mutual pace, that I can still feel as I think about this experience. We were just one organism working together. I know this description does not reflect the fluidity of our work that day, but it's often difficult to articulate something so fluid and dynamic. 

     
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    Nicole Wong
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 09:36 p.m.

    I just want to add something funny.  The other day I mentioned the idea about the idea of a group of people working together like one organism with six arms.  One of the audience members said, to her neighbor, "That's an insect!"

    Seriously, though, I think it's a powerful way to think about people closely coordinating together.  That idea comes from Andy Dayton.  Thanks, Andy!

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    Andrew Dayton

    Doctoral student
    May 18, 2019 | 09:20 a.m.

    I think of 'one organism, many limbs' as similar to improvisation by jazz ensembles.  Contribution itself is the essential process.  As a model for embodied collaboration I think this analogy works quite well, since multi-modal movement as well as the prosodic features of speech can be precisely measured and seem to have very important "cognitively hot", culturally specific features.  Attunement, entrainment, intersubjective synchrony and like processes are important embodied cognitive engagements that can be measured and appear to vary by culture.  This idea may be somewhat revolutionary as these skills are often assumed to be human cognitive 'primaries' which are then mediated or modulated by culture.  In development, you get the culture first, last, and always.  

    This may be true of insects as well.  Check out the burrowing mole cricket!

    Hayashi Y, Yoshimura J, Roff DA, Kumita T, Shimizu A (2018) Four types of vibration behaviors in a mole cricket. PLoS ONE 13(10): e0204628. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0204628

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 18, 2019 | 02:21 p.m.

    Thanks for your explanation, Andy!  Your points are very central to the processes of coordination among people that we are trying to describe. (Except for the cricket part, which continued my joking comment about insects -- the article on crickets just talks about individual crickets producing communicative acts, not about the coordination among crickets.)

    People might be interested in viewing the clips from Dayton, Aceves-Azuara, and Rogoff in the 2017 NSF video showcase, which found a cultural pattern at a microscale (fractions of seconds) that is similar to the two studies of collaboration that Lucia, Omar, and I presented here in this year's video showcase. 

    Viewed at a scale of fractions of seconds, family groups of Guatemalan Mayan mothers, toddlers, and 3-5-year-old siblings engaged all three together in exploring novel objects with fine-tuned collaboration for most of the time.  Middle-class European American family groups, in the same situation, seldom engaged in this way; they often either excluded one person of the triad or resisted each other.

     
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    Itzel Aceves-Azuara
  • Icon for: Itzel Aceves-Azuara

    Itzel Aceves-Azuara

    May 20, 2019 | 01:57 p.m.

    And I think it might be interesting to add, research suggests that in many Indigenous communities of the Americas children or adults not only collaborate just to be part of the process but also because their contribution is needed and useful (e.g. Rogoff et al 1993; Paradise and de Haan, 2009). This contrast with some middle-class experiences I have had in which adults and children are put into awkward situations to collaborate with each other, just for the sake of having "quality time"  

  • May 15, 2019 | 06:58 p.m.

    Collaboration strategies and frameworks all too often represent one way of working and thinking together. This is important research and I look forward to learning more.

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 02:47 a.m.

    Thanks for your comment, Bridget!  Do you have any speculations about why collaboration frameworks are used? Maybe the collaboration frameworks that provide children with roles and timeframes etc help teachers feel like they have some control of the process.  (Even if the controlled framework limits the children's learning of how to collaborate.) Ideas?

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    Juan-Daniel Ramirez

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2019 | 02:20 a.m.

    Congratuation Barbara. It is very intersting to observe the collaborative character of mexican heritage in children. Only one question, In this video all the participants are girls but, happen the same in boys? Is the collaboration related to cultural heritage or to genre? Or the combination of cultural heritage and genre? Juan-Daniel Ramirez, UPO, Seville, Spain

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 02:56 a.m.

    Hola Juan-Daniel!  In the first study, we showed boys.  But no matter, we don't find gender differences.  Maybe if we had much larger sample sizes, we'd see gender differences, but in our studies we routinely don't find gender differences (nor interactions with gender).

  • Icon for: Juan-Daniel Ramirez

    Juan-Daniel Ramirez

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2019 | 02:22 a.m.

    Congratuation Barbara. It is very intersting to observe the collaborative character of mexican heritage in children. Only one question, In this video all the participants are girls but, happen the same in boys? Is the collaboration related to cultural heritage or to genre? Or the combination of cultural heritage and genre? Juan-Daniel Ramirez, UPO, Seville, Spain

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 09:44 p.m.

    Juan Daniel -- I'm curious -- do you see this way of working together being common among people in Spain?

    I think that among Indigenous-heritage people of North and Central America, this way of interacting is broadly recognizable.  It may fit with a cultural value in this region, known in Mexico as being acomedido/a.  There is not an English translation of this term, but it comes down to being alert to the direction of the group and helping each other without being asked.  We have written about this cultural value in:

    López, A., Ruvalcaba, O., & Rogoff, B. (2015). Attentive helping as a cultural practice of Mexican-heritage families. In Y.M. Caldera & E.W. Lindsey (Eds.), Mexican American children and families. (pp. 76-91). NY: Routledge.

  • Icon for: Juan-Daniel Ramirez

    Juan-Daniel Ramirez

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2019 | 02:22 a.m.

    Congratuation Barbara. It is very intersting to observe the collaborative character of mexican heritage in children. Only one question, In this video all the participants are girls but, happen the same in boys? Is the collaboration related to cultural heritage or to genre? Or the combination of cultural heritage and genre? Juan-Daniel Ramirez, UPO, Seville, Spain

  • Icon for: Juan-Daniel Ramirez

    Juan-Daniel Ramirez

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2019 | 02:22 a.m.

    Congratuation Barbara. It is very intersting to observe the collaborative character of mexican heritage in children. Only one question, In this video all the participants are girls but, happen the same in boys? Is the collaboration related to cultural heritage or to genre? Or the combination of cultural heritage and genre? Juan-Daniel Ramirez, UPO, Seville, Spain

  • Icon for: Juan-Daniel Ramirez

    Juan-Daniel Ramirez

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2019 | 02:22 a.m.

    Congratuation Barbara. It is very intersting to observe the collaborative character of mexican heritage in children. Only one question, In this video all the participants are girls but, happen the same in boys? Is the collaboration related to cultural heritage or to genre? Or the combination of cultural heritage and genre? Juan-Daniel Ramirez, UPO, Seville, Spain

  • Icon for: Marilyn Fleer

    Marilyn Fleer

    Researcher
    May 16, 2019 | 03:39 a.m.

    Mexican heritage children are really on to something - YES!!! This is such a powerful video. Working environments and the world would be so different if this was the practice tradition of everyone. Our schools should be aiming for these kinds of interactions - ALWAYS. Thank you for sharing this Barbara, and thank you for the thoughtful comments and questions I read above. I will take this to our next PhD group day for discussion - our group is so culturally diverse - so the discussions will be rich.

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    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 12:38 a.m.

    Thanks, Marilyn!  Please tell your PhD group that they're invited to join the discussion.  I'm impressed with the interesting ideas that have emerged in the discussion.

  • Icon for: Robert Serpell

    Robert Serpell

    Researcher
    May 18, 2019 | 02:25 a.m.

    Lucia, Thanks for sharing your experience of collaboration with young boys in Yucatan on repairing playground equipment. Note how the collaboration was inspired by a shared superordinate goal (to borrow a phrase from Muzafir Sherif's famous Robbers Cave experiment). Maybe the salience of the shared goal in your laboratory puzzle tasks was clearer for the Mexican heritage children relative to other motives such as displaying individual competencies ? In Paul Mumba's CtC classes in Zambia cooperation within each study-group was prioritised by setting up the study groups to compete with one another as groups.

    I'm not sure how important fluidity was in those CtC peer-group cooperative problem-solving activities, or indeed in the playground equipment repair activity you describe. A pair of siblings or close friends may develop a fluidly collaborative pattern of joint activity as a result of frequent practice and interpersonal trust - a bit like the automatisation that Robert Sternberg and others have posited as a process of cognitive growth that enables skilled performers to focus attention on higher-order aspects of a task (eg changing gear in a manual shift car, which requires planning and self-monitoring during the early phase of learning to drive, becomes automatised in the cognitive repertoire of the skilled driver, allowing her/him to pay more attention to negotiating a way through traffic - or even to chatting with passengers ! )   

     
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    Lucía Alcalá
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    Andrew Dayton

    Doctoral student
    May 18, 2019 | 09:55 a.m.

    Hello Robert,

    I really appreciate reading your contributions to this discussion.  Thanks so much for your thoughtful engagement.  A couple of things in response to your above:

    --Maybe the salience of the shared goal in your laboratory puzzle tasks was clearer for the Mexican heritage children relative to other motives such as displaying individual competencies ?--

    I'm not sure why this would be.  Are you saying that a shared solution to the task was more apparent to the Mexican-heritage children?  If so, I believe this is the actual news of the study -- Mexican heritage children worked out a collaborative strategy more often.  "displaying individual competencies" is less often a 'motive' for these children.  This is the result of the study.

    --A pair of siblings or close friends may develop a fluidly collaborative pattern of joint activity as a result of frequent practice and interpersonal trust --

    This is certainly true.  Also, in Native American communities like my own, a pair of bitter rivals or outright enemies will often "develop a fluidly collaborative pattern of practice" when we are engaged in tasks together.  Here, upsetting group harmony and bringing competition into joint activities is seen as being less competent.  The fluidity IS the point; fluid, harmonious engagement is the 'superordinate goal', supervening any others, such as building a fence, fixing playground equipment, or teaching STEM to a room full of children.

    We have seen this feature of Indigenous group engagement is studies by Madsen and colleagues, where groups of Indigenous and Indigenous heritage children in Mexico and the United States most often chose to collaborate in ensembles, even when the explicit purpose of the task was to compete and rewards were given for competing.  Instead, Indigenous children, for whom the superordinate goal was very salient, devised elaborate strategies to collaborate in competitive tasks.

    .  

     

     
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    Robert Serpell

    Researcher
    May 18, 2019 | 10:08 a.m.

    What a nice synthesis ! "upsetting group harmony and bringing competition into joint activities is seen as being less competent.  The fluidity IS the point; fluid, harmonious engagement is the 'superordinate goal', supervening any others".

    Hence the reluctance of many non-"WEIRD"-society-origin university students in the USA to engage in the kind of confrontational debate that is so highly prized in the Western cultural academy ? 

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 18, 2019 | 09:09 p.m.

    Also this is consistent with observations in classrooms of Native American students, when a teacher tries to single out a student to answer a question, and even though the student knows the answer, the student does not reply, in order to not stand out over others.  The teacher passes to the next student, and the next and the next, and all know the answer but do not reply.

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 18, 2019 | 09:21 p.m.

    Robert, in your earlier comment on fluid synchrony, you speculated: "A pair of siblings or close friends may develop a fluidly collaborative pattern of joint activity as a result of frequent practice and interpersonal trust - a bit like the automatisation that Robert Sternberg and others have posited as a process of cognitive growth that enables skilled performers to focus attention on higher-order aspects of a task."

    This is a good point.  We have not studied what happens when groups of strangers from each  background interact.  We've studied siblings, parent-child groups, and classmates (who may or may not be friends). 

    You may be asking whether the fluid synchrony of collaboration among the Mexican-heritage groups may require them to be familiar with each other.  It would be a very interesting research project to examine that question.  My guess is that Mexican-heritage strangers (especially those that are used to Indigenous Mexican practices) would show more fluid synchrony than European American middle-class strangers. 

    An example:  I've been at open-house style parties thrown by Mexican-heritage colleagues, where many of the guests do not know each other in advance, but a smooth coordination happens in the kitchen as guests pitch in to help keep the beverages flowing, the food plates replenished, the trash taken care of, and the kitchen clean.  Two aspects are notable: everyone pitches in, and they coordinate smoothly in a small space.

    Anyone have an example or a speculation related to Robert's comment?

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2019 | 08:04 p.m.

    Andy, Thank you for your examples and important contributions to our discussion. I agree with you, maintaining group harmony is a key marker of being a competent community member. 

  • Icon for: Tina Plaza-Whoriskey

    Tina Plaza-Whoriskey

    Senior Communications Manager
    May 18, 2019 | 07:12 p.m.

    I love this study and am very interested in highlighting it for the Child Trends News Service.    This project is also funded by NSF. This is the link to our video: https://stemforall2019.videohall.com/p/1506. In a nutshell, our main goal is to provide Hispanic families with access to findings from child development research via the news media. Looking forward to collaborating with you!

     
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    Itzel Aceves-Azuara
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    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 19, 2019 | 07:25 p.m.

    Hi Tina,  Wonderful!  We look forward to collaborating -- with fluid synchrony! 

    :-)

    You may also be interested in our 3 previous videos in the NSF video showcase:

    Our 2018 3-minute video for NSF,  “Learning by Helping,” shows the helpfulness of Mexican-heritage children whose families don’t have much schooling.

    Our 2017 3-minute video focuses on the sophisticated collaboration of Mexican-heritage and Indigenous American children.

    Our 3-minute video "Learning by Observing" draws attention to strengths for learning among Indigenous and Mexican-heritage children.

     
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    Alicia Torres
  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2019 | 08:20 p.m.

    Hi Tina, Congratulations on your video! Increasing access to scientific research is such a meaningful way to work towards equity. I'm wondering if your research group, also, to increase Latinx families' access to research findings, you also integrate their views on development or if this is a 'one-way' intervention. I'm also curious to learn how Latinx parents were identified as one of the groups that need child development information the most. 

  • Icon for: Tina Plaza-Whoriskey

    Tina Plaza-Whoriskey

    Senior Communications Manager
    May 20, 2019 | 12:34 p.m.

    Great to connect with you. In response to your first question, we often include clips from interviews with parents in our news reports. We think it is important that our videos not only contain advice from academic experts, but that they also frame parents as experts.

     

    To address your second question, I will share a bit of what we learned from literature reviews and focus groups that helped inform the development of our project. Latinx children are the largest racial/ethnic minority group (https://www.pewhispanic.org/2016/04/20/the-nations-latino-population-is-defined-by-its-youth/) and are expected to represent a third of all U.S. children by 2050 (https://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/tables.asp). However, they are disproportionately poor, facing conditions that pose threats to child development (https://www.childtrends.org/indicators/children-in-poverty/). In order to promote a more equitable society and build up the future workforce of our country, it is important to address the barriers that many Latinx families face. Research also finds that that Latinx families place great importance on education (https://www.childtrends.org/publications/americas-hispanic-children-gaining-ground-looking-forward). Our focus groups with low-income Latinx parents mirrored these findings, as participants expressed eagerness to learn the content in the videos and recognized the value in incorporating the lessons from our TV news reports into their lives.

     
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    Lucía Alcalá
  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 02:09 p.m.

    Thanks, Tina! I think that integrating parents as experts is critical and shows how forward-thinking your project is! Likewise, understanding the structural barriers that Latinx families face will also help us move the conversation beyond the usual individual focus. 

  • Icon for: Angus Macfarlane

    Angus Macfarlane

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 18, 2019 | 11:36 p.m.

    fascinating, interesting, and resonating with behaviours of Indigenous New Zealand (Maori) children, I would suspect.

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 02:14 p.m.

    Hi Angus, I'm also interested in learning more about what aspects of our video (fluid synchrony) resonate with the behavior of Maori children. One of the things we notice with Mexican-heritage children and Indigenous children (Maya) is that they have parents and community members grant them a high level of autonomy, respecting their wishes (even when parents do not agree), and by recognizing children's will, children, in turn, will learn to respect others and to collaborate. I know that in some communities obedience is highly desired (which might be the case of children in Zambia, Robert?) but in the Maya communities, the goal is for the child to understand the importance of collaborating and to develop the initiative to do so when needed or appropriate. 

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 19, 2019 | 07:37 p.m.

    Hi Angus, thanks! I wonder if you have observed similar fluid synchrony in your research with Maori children?  Do you have an example?

  • May 20, 2019 | 11:18 a.m.

    Really neat work!  This is a great complement to (and points us to really interesting ways to extend) our informal STEM education programs --- We're studying how university educators engage with youth in out-of-school settings (assuming modes of instruction, consultation, and collaboration), how our preparation of these educators impacts their practices, and ultimately the forms of practices youth engage in ... This will be a great video to use for our training programs.  It also suggests we might bring the kids in to teach our university students about collaborative practice : ) 

     
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    Lucía Alcalá
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 01:18 p.m.

    I'm glad you find the video useful!  I'm so grateful to NSF for this contest, which allows us to post video clips of research that helps people SEE phenomena that would be very hard to understand if they just read about them. 

     

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 01:32 p.m.

    You said that you might want to bring the kids in to teach your university students about collaborative practice.  You wrote it with a smiley face -- but I think it's a great idea.  I find that showing my 3-min NSF videos on strengths for learning among Mexican- and Indigenous-heritage children sparks really interesting discussion, and people can articulate the principles behind these strengths in ways that build on the videos.

    I hope you have seen the three prior 3-min videos on strengths for learning that I put on the NSF website in previous contests -- on learning by helping, sophisticated collaboration, and keen observation.

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    Sonja Macfarlane

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 20, 2019 | 12:49 p.m.

    Fascinating for the proximity of the behaviours to those of Indigenous New Zealand children. Will share with faculty and postgraduate classes at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch NZ.

  • Icon for: Itzel Aceves-Azuara

    Itzel Aceves-Azuara

    May 20, 2019 | 12:58 p.m.

    I am curious, in what aspects do you find interactions similar among the Indigenous New Zealand children? Do you see any important differences? 

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 02:09 p.m.

    Hi Sonja, thanks for your comment!  It would be great if you could post an example of an interaction that you've observed or been part of with Indigenous New Zealand children.  The examples really help people visualize the phenomenon! 

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    James Loucky

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 20, 2019 | 02:22 p.m.

    "Collaboration as an Ensemble" is an encouraging example of how some cultural traditions, and families within them, practice modes of cooperative learning that hold immense promise not only for more effective school experiences, but also for how children - and former children - can work together to meet the immense challenges of our time. The implications for climate education are many.

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 06:43 p.m.

    james -- Your comment is really important!  I sent it offline to a colleague who is a scientist working on climate change.  She replied,

    "Good point!  I agree!    But HOW to have it make a difference?
    We need to work on that."

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    Therese Engquist

    May 20, 2019 | 03:19 p.m.

    I work at a roofing company where we see the same dynamic in Hispanic roofing crews working together even where employees are new to each other or new to roofing.

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 03:27 p.m.

    Wow, Therese!  Thanks for your observation!  It speaks to the earlier question about whether people have to be very familiar with each other to collaborate with fluid synchrony.  They don't have to be familiar with each other, or even familiar with the activity they're engaging in.  This is a very important addition to the discussion!

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 04:49 p.m.

    What happens when a crew has a mixture of national backgrounds, like Mexican-heritage and European American, who don’t already know each other?  Do they coordinate just as fluidly?

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    Therese Engquist

    May 20, 2019 | 04:59 p.m.

    A crew of say five Hispanic members with varying levels of experience (1 foreman, 3 journeymen, and 1 apprentice) can work all day with virtually no words and be incredibly productive.  You can insert another Hispanic and the production rarely skips a beat.  If you start mixing crew members up with non-Hispanics, the crew simply doesn't get as much work done.  I don't know and I don't have a foreman here right now to ask if it's only because they have to use more words to get the job done or because of a language barrier which makes them have to translate to the English speaker or prejudices or personality conflicts or any other factors.  My personal observations are that it has something to do with inherent trust within the culture.

  • Icon for: Richard Henne-Ochoa

    Richard Henne-Ochoa

    May 20, 2019 | 04:06 p.m.

    Barbara Rogoff, in describing above a study conducted in Utah, made a point that really intrigues me.

    She wrote: The children from the collaborative school tried to include the adult (the tester) in the problem-solving, in a friendly, comfortable way ("So Eugene, what do you think about this way of solving it?").  The children were used to collaborating with each other and with adults.  The children from the neighborhood school did not try to collaborate with the adult.

    This makes me wonder about the role of the teacher where fluid synchrony happens. In other words, how does the teacher support fluid synchrony? Perhaps there is a need for closer examination of student-teacher relationships where fluid synchrony exists/doesn't exist.

    What I have observed among the Lakota when fluid synchrony is ongoing, is that the "teacher" respects the autonomy of the students such that they collaborate seemingly without the "teacher" directing them and assessing individual performance. It's as though the students know the teacher respects and trusts their performance to the extent that they feel there is no risk of exposing incompetence. How this kind of respect and trust is communicated interests me. Anyone else have some insight into this?

     
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    Lucía Alcalá
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    Wendy Haight

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 20, 2019 | 05:44 p.m.

    As I think about the video, I wonder about the various ways that such fluid, ensembles may be supported including through socialization practices. The Mexican heritage children's collaborations reminded me very much of the Japanese elementary school students studied by my research team (and others!). In that particular cultural context, children typically are socialized from the time they are toddlers not so much to express their own thoughts and feelings as to sense and "read" the minds of others, adjusting their behavior accordingly. In pre school and elementary school, traditional Japanese education occurs in peer groups. Peer groups work not only on specific academic content, but planning long term social and other projects, serving one another food, and cleaning the school. Adults only rarely intervene. Rather, the role of adults is to "mimamori" the children; that is, watch over them as protective figures and to structure the social context so that children will "spontaneously" learn to work together with others who have varying talents, interests and personalities. 

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 07:12 p.m.

    Taking Richard's and Wendy's comments together, I'm struck by the convergence of observations regarding how adults might foster children's collaboration in fluid synchrony.  They both call attention to trust and respect for the children's process: 

    Richard's observations among Lakota lead him to say that when fluid synchrony is happening, "It's as though the students know the teacher respects and trusts their performance to the extent that they feel there is no risk of exposing incompetence."

    Relatedly, based on her research in Japanese schools, Wendy states that children are encouraged to 'read' the minds of others (related to Dayton's idea of groups of children collaborating like one organism with many arms).  Wendy connects this with adults rarely intervening in the peer groups prioritized in Japanese early education: "Rather, the role of adults is to "mimamori" the children; that is, watch over them as protective figures and to structure the social context so that children will "spontaneously" learn to work together with others who have varying talents, interests and personalities."

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 07:19 p.m.

    Reflecting further.  I recall that Therese speculated that inherent trust within the culture is an important underlying support for collaboration with fluid synchrony among roofing work crews of Hispanic workers, even when the workers do not know each other and are new to the specific activity.

    Earlier, several commentators asked if familiarity is necessary for people to collaborate with fluid synchrony.  Various responses indicate that familiarity with partners does not seem to be necessary.  But it sounds like familiarity with cultural practices -- maybe trust and respect for the group collaborative work -- may play a role.

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 07:12 p.m.

    Hi Wendy, I appreciate your comment. I think that similar to the Japanese adults, Maya adults support toddlers' fluid synchrony by organizing their developmental niche in a way that allows toddlers to engage in fluid collaboration on their own initiative. Mexican-heritage mothers also reported how crucial it was that children helped on their own; that way, they would know that collaborating was 'coming from their hearts.' 

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 07:52 p.m.

    Thank you everyone for such thoughtful, deep discussion.  There is a great deal of food for thought here, and it will help to guide future research as well as efforts to support children's strengths for learning.

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 20, 2019 | 07:57 p.m.

    I agree with Barbara. These conversations will help us further our research projects as we figure out new ways to understand and study this phenomenon while supporting children's learning and development. Thank you everyone! 

  • Icon for: Angus Macfarlane

    Angus Macfarlane

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 21, 2019 | 09:56 a.m.

    Sharing and learning tend to go in tandem in the Maori world. I n more recent times whanau (families) have become more assertive in terms of accessing the knowledge and information that enables them to make informed choices and to have a say in decision-making processes related to the education of their children. The children and whanau have a great deal of cultural knowledge from which the school can accrue benefits. Many Maori children take to school their genealogy, ancient stories, songs, haka (performing arts) and the important construct that we refer to as manaakitanga. This construct concerns hosting people, being hospitable and kind and sharing to others. In incorporating these meanings into the teaching and learning context, manaakitanga can have several interpretations. First, teachers need a range of strategies to promote the caring process in the classroom. Second, classrooms need to be culturally safe. Third, sound intercultural communication must prevail. Fourth, manaakitanga is obligatory and has reciprocal ramifications, suggesting that teachers and learners who value others will be valued in return.

    I will, ask Sonja if she has other ideas

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