This chapter focuses on one of Vygotsky’s key methodological concepts: the double stimulation strategy (Vygotsky 1978, 1987, 1999), a radical reconceptualisation of the behaviourist experimental method that makes the unit of analysis the process or activity of engaging with a task rather than merely the outcome or product. In such a re-conceptualisation, the researcher’s analytic gaze is directed at the mediation of the subject’s or participant’s activity by physical or psychological tools. For Vygotsky, the psychological tool of principal interest was language, principally spoken but also written (Vygotsky 1986), although his work is characterised by attention at different times to social as well as semiotic mediation and the associated concept of the ‘zone of proximal development’ (Moll 1990; Vygotsky 1978). Moreover, this re-conceptualisation challenges the researcher to see psychological processes as historical and dynamic, ‘undergoing changes right before one’s eyes’ (Vygotsky 1978: 61) and, further still, capable of being provoked by the researcher. In illustrating the significance of this methodological concept in researching teacher education and development, I will refer to two examples from my work: first, a study of beginning English teachers’ concept formation and conceptual development (Ellis 2007a, 2007b); and, second, a formative intervention into the organisational learning of a school-university teacher education partnership (Ellis 2008, 2007c). The argument of the chapter is that the double stimulation strategy is useful and productive in conceptualising and designing research into teacher learning that seeks to explain its complexity and to trace the history of its development. The two illustrations will also reflect the different emphases and shifts in Vygotsky’s work from semiotic to social processes of mediation and the potential of the research method itself to stimulate positive change.
|Title of host publication||Cultural-Historical Perspectives on Teacher Education and Development|
|Subtitle of host publication||Learning Teaching|
|Editors||Viv Ellis, Anne Edwards, Peter Smagorinsky|
|Place of Publication||Abingdon UK|
|Number of pages||20|
|ISBN (Print)||9780415497589, 9780415497596|
|Publication status||Published - 11 Jan 2010|