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  • Cited by 9
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    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Jesson, Rebecca Fontich, Xavier and Myhill, Debra 2016. Creating dialogic spaces: Talk as a mediational tool in becoming a writer. International Journal of Educational Research, Vol. 80, Issue. , p. 155.

    Smit, Jantien A. A. van Eerde, Henriëtte and Bakker, Arthur 2013. A conceptualisation of whole-class scaffolding. British Educational Research Journal, Vol. 39, Issue. 5, p. 817.

    Enriquez, Judith Guevarra 2011. A Discussion by Any other Name: Disentangling Words and Practice in Online Conferencing. E-Learning and Digital Media, Vol. 8, Issue. 1, p. 19.

    Plaut, Suzanne 2006. “I Just Don’t Get It”: Teachers’ and Students’ Conceptions of Confusion and Implications for Teaching and Learning in the High School English Classroom. Curriculum Inquiry, Vol. 36, Issue. 4, p. 391.

    SOEP, ELISABETH 2006. Critique: Assessment and the Production of Learning. Teachers College Record, Vol. 108, Issue. 4, p. 748.

    John-Steiner, Vera and Mahn, Holbrook 2003. Handbook of Psychology.

    Triplett, Cheri Foster 2002. Dialogic Responsiveness: Toward Synthesis, Complexity, and Holism in Our Reponses to Young Literacy Learners. Journal of Literacy Research, Vol. 34, Issue. 1, p. 119.

    Schultz, Katherine and Fecho, Bob 2000. Society's Child: Social Context and Writing Development. Educational Psychologist, Vol. 35, Issue. 1, p. 51.

    O’Connor, M. C. 1998. Chapter 2: Can We Trace the “Efficacy of Social Constructivism”?. Review of Research in Education, Vol. 23, Issue. 1, p. 25.

  • Print publication year: 1996
  • Online publication date: May 2010

6 - Selective traditions: readings of Vygotsky in writing pedagogy


Selective tradition is Raymond Williams's term for the process by which we select from the legacy of the past to explain, support, and justify actions in the present. In his words, it is

an intentionally selective version of a shaping past and a pre-shaped present, which is then powerfully operative in the process of social and cultural definition and identification. … It is a version of the past which is intended to connect with and ratify the present. What it offers in practice is a sense of predisposed continuity.

(1977, pp. 115, 116)

Whether conscious or not, selective traditions are influential in societal, professional, and personal life.

I realized this importance anew in discussing the ideas in this chapter with colleagues in South Africa. On the societal level, as an essential contribution to a multi- (or non-)racial South Africa, social scientists are analyzing, challenging, exorcizing, and replacing the selective traditions of Christian Nationalism that have supported apartheid. For example, anthropologists (Boonzaier & Sharp, 1988) have followed Williams in analyzing South African keywords: not only race but also seemingly more benign terms such as culture, ethnicity, and even community.

On a more personal and individual level, a South African colleague explained how she introduces her students to the meaning and importance of critical literacy by showing how autobiographical statements she has written for different audiences select more scholarly or more political aspects of her own career.

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Discourse, Learning, and Schooling
  • Online ISBN: 9780511720390
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