1. Barbara Rogoff
  2. http://people.ucsc.edu/~brogoff/
  3. UCSC Foundation Professor of Psychology
  4. "SGER: Learning through Observing and Pitching In to Community Activities." SGER: Learning through Observing and Pitching In to Community Activities
  5. http://learningbyobservingandpitchingin.com
  6. University of California
  1. Lucía Alcalá
  2. Assistant Professor
  3. "SGER: Learning through Observing and Pitching In to Community Activities." SGER: Learning through Observing and Pitching In to Community Activities
  4. http://learningbyobservingandpitchingin.com
  5. California State University Fullerton
  1. Angélica López Fraire
  2. Assistant Professor
  3. "SGER: Learning through Observing and Pitching In to Community Activities." SGER: Learning through Observing and Pitching In to Community Activities
  4. http://learningbyobservingandpitchingin.com
  5. Marymount California University
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Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2018 | 05:01 p.m.

    Thanks for viewing our video!  We're interested in hearing from you.  Do you have questions about how we observed that the Mexican-heritage children were especially helpful?  Or do you have related observations? 

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    KD Ramsay

    Parent
    May 16, 2018 | 11:47 a.m.

    I would be curious to know if the size of the family has more to do with helping vs. the heritage.  In other words my grandmother (Euro-American) had 17 siblings and I can tell you she helped a lot.  My Mother in law (Euro-American) was 1 in 13 and she also helped a lot.   So my suspicion is that those children from larger families (irregardless of their heritage) probably are more active "helpers".  

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 11:48 p.m.

    Thank you for your comment!

    It could be both.  Family structure is very important.  So are cultural practices.  Often they overlap -- different cultural communities often have different family structures. 

    And cultural expectations also matter.  My impression is that families with only a few children in a community that tends to have large families often have similar practices to families with lots of children in that community.  In my research in Guatemala and middle-class US, we examined whether some of the cultural differences we were seeing were due to the number of children in each family, by carrying out another study with families that did not vary in number of children.  We found the same cultural differences.  Our interpretation was that in a community organized around large families, that was more important to the differences we were seeing than the specific organization of individual families.

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    Nieves Tapia

    Researcher
    May 14, 2018 | 08:37 a.m.

    Service-learning pedagogy has been showcasing both in USA and in Latin America how encouraging children to be enganged in their communities motivate them to learn more, including STEM learning. Service-learning works across cultures, not only with kids with Latin American heritage. That said, of course collaboration and "solidaridad" are values deeply engrained in Latin American cultures. I would invite you to visit Service-learning sites like IARSLCE: International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement, www.researchslce.org or NYLC, www.nylc.org, or the Latin American Center for Service-learning, www.clayss.org

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 10:00 a.m.

    Hi Nieves,

    Thank you for your comment and the resources on service-learning. I'm currently teaching a service-learning (from a social justice perspective) course with college students and I agree, this is a great way to encourage students to be engaged in different communities.  I also appreciate your comment on how service-learning works across cultures. This is an empirical question I hope to answer with data from my service-learning course given that my class is very diverse and will allow me to examine cultural differences to some extent. 

    However, I have not seen this pedagogy applied in elementary school settings, but I'm sure there might be some cases. What we see with children in many Mesoamerican communities is a high level of helpfulness at home which can be a strength when designing science related curriculum. 

  • Icon for: Angélica López Fraire

    Angélica López Fraire

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 07:08 p.m.

    You make a very important point about service learning, Nieves, thank you! It is important across cultures.  I currently teach at a small liberal arts university where it is highly encouraged to tie in service learning with the class curricula and it brings the material to life in a different level. Not only does it help with grasping the material but it also helps foster students’ perseverance and motivation when they feel they are contributing to something important.

    As graduate students, Lucía and I were part of a mentorship collaborative with undergraduate psychology students to help promote a sense of community and academic excellence.  Undergraduates often reported that opportunities to help others helped them want to stay in school and excel. Sentiments were also similar for graduate students.

    Thanks for sharing the links! 

  • Icon for: Marcos Pires Leodoro

    Marcos Pires Leodoro

    Researcher
    May 14, 2018 | 10:14 a.m.

    I think participation is the more important change in education and society. Our modern culture losted the capacity of experience the reality. The afirmation about importance of "solidaridad" (in portuguese, "solidariedade") in science education is revolucionary. Paulo Freire is alive. And Winnicott, too!

    I say in this video "You relate to things by participating" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0F3KCHkuumU)

    Thanks for the proposition. I'll use it in my work.

    Marcos Leodoro (São Carlos, Brazil)

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 10:56 a.m.

    Thanks for your comment!  Contribution to group or community endeavors appears to be a key aspect of a way of learning that appears to be especially common in many communities of the Americas with Indigenous heritage.  We have written about this as "Learning by Observing and Pitching In to family and community endeavors" (LOPI).  www.learningbyobservingandpitchingin.com

     

  • Icon for: Helen Teague

    Helen Teague

    Researcher
    May 17, 2018 | 11:00 p.m.

     Dr. Rogoff: Thank you for sharing your research! I hope your research will help to reignite the idea of helping/helping out in communities. Volunteers add connective tissue to our towns and cities. 

    Helen Teague

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2018 | 07:19 p.m.

    Thank you for your comment, Helen! I agree with you on the importance of highlighting the importance of contributing to our communities. I think that helping out and creating reciprocal relationships, which is key to the organization of many indigenous communities, create the 'connective tissue' that holds the community.

    Children in our studies have reported on the importance to be a contributing member of their family and community, as part of their social responsibility. For example, a child mentioned that it wouldn't feel right if "everyone else was cleaning at home and he was just sitting there watching T.V."  I think that we can provide opportunities for children and youth to contribute to our towns and cities by starting by considering them complete members of the community and allowing them to contribute. Our cities can definitely benefit from stronger 'cognitive tissue' and I've noticed that when college students are contributing to their communities through service-learning, their sense of responsibility and civic engagement increases as well as their academic development.

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 10:59 a.m.

     You might be interested in our previous 3-minute videos that show the sophisticated collaboration and attentiveness of children from some Indigenous-heritage communities of the Americas.  http://stemforall2017.videohall.com/presentatio... and      http://stemforall2016.videohall.com/presentatio...

  • Icon for: Mark Windschitl

    Mark Windschitl

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 12:52 p.m.

    Barbara and colleagues, fascinating work about helping across cultures. I am wondering if there were other ways in which helping occurrred? It looked in the video like the key episodes were around the cleaning up of materials, so I was wondering if there were other forms of assistance that children felt they could render without being asked? I was curious because it could provide insights into identity and into what children think "we are doing here together."

     
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    Angélica López Fraire
    Andrew Coppens
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 02:16 p.m.

    Great question.  The 15 helping opportunities were of two types: helping the instructor with aspects of the activity that directly benefitted the children’s projects (like picking up the spilled objects that the children needed for their projects) versus helping the instructor manage the overall activity in ways that were not a direct benefit for the children’s own projects (like organizing things after they were no longer needed for the activity). The differences between the backgrounds were strongest for the opportunities that did not directly benefit the children’s projects: Mexican-heritage children from families with limited schooling were especially helpful, compared with European American middle-class children, under those circumstances. 

    The Mexican-heritage children whose families had a lot of schooling acted similarly to the European American middle-class children in not helping the instructor so much.  (They did pitch in to help at home though, like the Mexican-heritage children from families without much schooling.  They may have learned that helping at home is welcomed, but not in school-like situations.) 

  • Icon for: Deborah Silvis

    Deborah Silvis

    May 15, 2018 | 05:03 p.m.

    I appreciate your question, Mark... and your work and video, Barbara and colleagues. In terms of "helping without being asked," I wonder what are differences you see when helping is done after being asked? Also, do you have some ideas about the "for whom" of helping? One thing I wonder- that comes through in your video- is how helping in families is different from helping instructors (or helping researchers in your home!).

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 08:01 p.m.

    Hi Deborah,  The study did not compare voluntary helping with helping after being asked.  That would be an interesting study -- Do you have a speculation about what would happen?

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 08:12 p.m.

    You also asked about helping 'for whom.'  This is also important.  We have other studies that show similar cultural differences in children helping classmates as we found in this study for children helping an instructor. 

    Yes, helping in families may differ from helping instructors -- but in our study, that was only the case for children with family experience with both Mexican-heritage practices and extensive  schooling.  Children from the other two backgrounds showed similar levels of helpfulness across the two kinds of situation: Mexican-heritage California children whose families had limited schooling (and probable experience with Indigenous practices) were helpful both in their families and with the instructor.  European American middle-class children were not so helpful in either situation. 

    I think that an important aspect of children's learning is figuring out when to use what approach.  Thus children learn to adjust whether to be helpful in different situations. At first, they may extend their experience at home to new situations, until they have enough information that their approach is not so successful in the new situation.

  • Icon for: Angélica López Fraire

    Angélica López Fraire

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 10:17 p.m.

    Good question, Mark. Yes, the opportunity to help featured in the film involves helping the instructor pick up spilled objects (which might seem like cleaning). As Barbara mentioned, there were 15 opportunities to help, half of which included opportunities to help the instructor manage the overall activity (like the example in the video) and the other half included opportunities that benefited their own project. Opportunities in the latter category included taking initiative to get their print ready to get exposed to UV light, actively keeping time while their prints were under the light, and helping prepare to dry their print after being exposed to water to make them permanent. For these opportunities, their participation might make them feel more included in the technical aspects of the science activity. These opportunities were more directly tied to them finishing their own project. The biggest cultural differences for helping were found for opportunities that helped the instructor and group more forward. 

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    Sandra Marder

    Researcher
    May 14, 2018 | 04:07 p.m.

    Creo que es verdad que en las familias de bajos recursos los niños se ven obligados a ayudar porque las condiciones del hogar asi lo requieren y que esto no se estimula en las escuelas y familias de mayores recursos económicos. Sin embargo, no veo claramente de qué manera esto contribuye al desarrollo del pensamiento científico en estas situaciones.

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 04:55 p.m.

    Thank you Sandra.  Many Californian Mexican-heritage families that have limited schooling emphasize autonomous helpfulness as a developmental goal.  For example, the Mexican value system of being acomedid@ encourages people to be alert to the direction of a group and to pitch in and help out, both at home and in the community.  This is consistent with our research showing that sophisticated collaboration and attentiveness are more common among children from Indigenous-heritage backgrounds than among children from highly schooled communities.  We believe that experience with Indigenous Mexican practices plays a role in this worldview that values autonomous helpfulness.  Mothers' reports indicate that it is generally not a matter of obligation/control of children's helping, but rather they aim to include children as bona fide contributors and encourage the children's initiative.  (You can find references to this at www.learningbyobservingandpitchingin.com .)

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 05:09 p.m.

    In response to the second part of your question -- We suggest that if educators welcome children's helpfulness in science learning activities, this may be especially motivating for students whose value system and cultural experience promote making a contribution to the larger endeavors of their families and communities.   It may be a good motivator for all students to engage in learning activities, but especially so if students are used to having their contributions valued.  Motivation to be engaged in the activity at hand is a major part of the learning process for STEM learning.

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 06:12 p.m.

    Thank you for your comment Sandra! 

    One thing I found in my research is that mothers in our studies advice against forcing (and asking) children to help because children will only help when asked. On the other hand, parents suggested guiding children to see how their help is an important contribution. Furthermore, if you force children to help, they might do it (de mala gana) with a negative emotion and this might represent a threat to the social fabric of the family and the community. Mothers mentioned that they want children’s help to come from within their hearts, que les nazca de corazón.

    Similarly, other studies with middle-class families in the USA and Mexico supports the idea that parents want their children to help at home but their children provide minimal help. Parents are not asking for their children’s help because they are poor but because they are busy and need help.  

    I think that helping and being contributing members of their community will motivate children to engage in science related activities, so that they can continue to contribute to their community and society in general. Science-thinking is not self-serving thinking, but innovative-thinking for the benefit of the larger community.

     
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    Andrew Coppens
  • Icon for: Kevin Brown

    Kevin Brown

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 04:24 p.m.

    Fascinating! Do you have a sense of what elements of Western culture are encouraging students to be less helpful in both classroom and home settings and then how that is being transmitted to better schooled students in Mexico so that they become less helpful in classrooms while maintaining their helpfulness at home. For purely selfish reasons, I’m also wondering if there is a “teenager” effect in both Mexico and in Anglo-European cultures? Do you see any differences by gender?

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 06:00 p.m.

    Hi Kevin, Thanks!  In our research, we find that middle-class European American parents often try to avoid their children's help, regarding it as getting in the way of getting the task done.  This is especially the case with 2-3-year-olds' help -- parents try to do work at home when the children are sleeping, or send them off to play, or give them mock work (as Andrew Coppens and I have found, building on work of Harriet Rheingold and Lucia Alcala and Rebeca Mejia-Arauz).  By the time the middle-class European American children reach middle childhood, they have had many interactions excluding them from helping.  These may add up to the widely found lack of helpfulness at home in middle childhood among middle-class children (e.g., see Alcalá; Ochs & Kremer-Sadlik).

    In contrast, many Mexican-heritage mothers (in California) reported to us that it is important for their children's longterm development to be included collaboratively in family work, on a voluntary basis so that children develop initiative.  Their helpfulness is appreciated even at age 2-3. 

    So far, we have not seen gender differences in helpfulness (though the specific work activities may differ).

     
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    Andrew Coppens
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 06:03 p.m.

    You also asked what happens in Western culture that encourages students to be less helpful in classroom settings.  I'd like to turn that as a question to others who may have observations and speculations regarding classroom helping.  What do you see or think might discourage children's helpfulness in school settings?

  • Icon for: Richard Henne-Ochoa

    Richard Henne-Ochoa

    Researcher
    May 17, 2018 | 08:43 a.m.

    This study is so interesting in so many ways! Thank you!

    Perhaps whether children are discouraged from helping or encouraged to help in both home and classroom situations depends, in part, on the type of responses over time by the adults present when the help is provided. Here I am thinking about adult responses that are evaluative/judgemental versus non-evaluative/non-judgemental. Does the adult "repair" the help in the presence of the helper, or does the adult let the help stand as is, at least while the helper is present, without amendment?

    This reminds me of the Initiation Response Evaluation interactional routine (Mehan, 1977) so common in Euro-Western classrooms, where the teacher evaluates student responses to the teacher's initial prompt. This kind of "known answer" questioning by the teacher can limit participation by students who wish to avoid public evaluation of their responses. Over time, many students learn that it is too risky to respond to the teacher's initiation because the evaluation by the teacher may not be positive. Authentic discussion is thereby suppressed, as children resist the interactional routine and its participation structures and roles.

    Could it be that middle class Euro-American adults suppress child help by repeatedly negatively evaluating ("correcting") the help they provide, whereas the absence of adult negative evaluation of child help in Indigenous communities allows for children to help without feeling judged on the quality of their contributions?

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 04:40 p.m.

    Hi Rich, Very HELPFUL.  :-)

    I would add that I think it makes a difference whether corrections are in the service of getting something done together, or simply an evaluation of the student or their contribution.  For example, when a professor and a grad student write an article together, the professor probably corrects many of the student's helpful contributions.  I think this would have a different effect on further contributions than what might happen in a situation where the professor publicly corrects (or rejects) a student's contribution to a professor's known-answer question.

  • Icon for: Anna Hurst

    Anna Hurst

    Informal Educator
    May 14, 2018 | 07:47 p.m.

    Barbara, our My Sky Tonight team follows and admires your work!

     

    Do you have any thoughts on how to incorporate helping as an integral element in science activities and lessons (rather than, say, a classroom management technique)? Our team has been investigating strategies for engaging pre-K children in science practices and we are eager to expand to new audiences, as well as to adapt our activities and resources to effectively reach underserved audiences. Mexican heritage families are a group we are considering as a possible focus for future work. The concept presented in this video is intriguing as we think ahead to next steps.

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 08:34 p.m.


    Hi Anna,  I'm also an admirer of the My Sky Tonight work!  Your question is very interesting. 


    I will try to answer broadly, based on the conceptual model of "Learning by Observing and Pitching In to family and community endeavors" (LOPI; www.learningbyobservingandpitchingin.com ).  LOPI is an approach to learning that my colleagues and I believe occurs everywhere.  However, it seems to be an especially prevalent way of organizing learning in many Indigenous-heritage communities of the Americas.  Including many families who have immigrated to the US from Mexico.


    The central feature of the LOPI way of learning is that the community is inclusive -- children are included as bona fide contributors to ongoing events.  The social relations are collaborative with flexible leadership.


    So for your activities, I think that a collaborative approach (between children and adults and among children) would be important.  That would include encouragement for everyone to help everyone in accomplishing the shared goals.  A shared goal would be an important feature.  It would also involve flexibility of leadership, with the expectation that whoever knows how to do something or has a good idea could take the lead, with initiative.  It might also be helpful to have multiple ages in the groups, and to make clear that the goal includes everyone being involved (including the adults, who would take part, not just supervise and give instructions).


    I would love to see other people's speculations on this question!


     
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    Anna Hurst
  • Icon for: Anna Hurst

    Anna Hurst

    Informal Educator
    May 14, 2018 | 09:44 p.m.

    Thank you, Barbara! I look forward to taking a closer look at LOPI; thanks for sharing that website. I also hope that we can chat some time about your work and our future plans for My Sky Tonight work!

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 01:06 a.m.

    Thanks, Anna!  I look forward to chatting sometime when our paths cross.

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    Abbey Asher

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 15, 2018 | 10:17 a.m.

    Barbara and other researchers,

    I really enjoyed watching the video.  It made me think of my Mexican Heritage students who participated in the Alternative Spring Break Program in Watsonville.  I noticed how incredibly helpful these students were when it came to helping me with setting up or breaking down of the activities that we performed in the community.  For example, we painted a mural one day and when it came time to wash the brushes and clean up, the students didn't even need to be asked to help. They just jumped right in.  

     
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    Angélica López Fraire
    Barbara Rogoff
  • Icon for: Angélica López Fraire

    Angélica López Fraire

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 08:07 p.m.

    That’s a great example, Abbey. I can see how it might reflect values of the home as was found with our study. Such values require being alert to one’s surroundings and knowing when and how to pitch in. This idea of spontaneously helping is also tied to other studies that have demonstrated cultural differences in children’s attention to interactions not directed towards them (Correa-Chávez & Rogoff, 2009; López, Correa-Chávez, Rogoff, & Gutiérrez, 2010; Silva, Correa-Chávez, & Rogoff, 2010).

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    Sandra Marder

    Researcher
    May 15, 2018 | 10:19 a.m.

    Thank you Barbara and Lucia for your coments!! I´m researcher and teacher in Argentina, and at the La Plata National University, in Educational Psychologist we  teach your texts and cultural and socio historical aproach. I am very interested in the videos that are on this page to give examples to university students about cognitive change and collaborative learning.

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 03:29 p.m.

    Wonderful!  You may have already seen the 3-minute videos that we have made about strengths for learning of children from Mexican and Indigenous-heritage American backgrounds. But in case not, here are 2 links:

    Sophisticated collaboration --  http://videohall.com/p/1034

    Skilled attention to ongoing events -- http://videohall.com/p/693

     
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    Anna Hurst
  • Icon for: Megan McKinley

    Megan McKinley

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 05:12 p.m.

    Hello, Barbara and colleagues. Exploring how “learning by helping” can serve as a means to broaden participation in STEM is important work. This reminds me of how students--particularly females-- often see service-related careers, such as careers in healthcare, as viable pathways into STEM. Related to helping others, I’m interested in hearing more about your thoughts on who students may be interested in helping with STEM. For example, in addition to people, are entities in nature included?

     
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    Anna Hurst
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 09:46 p.m.

    Hi Megan,  This is an interesting question, wondering WHO students may be interested in helping.  You wondered whether entities in nature would be included in the helpfulness of the Mexican-heritage students from families with Indigenous practices and limited schooling. 

    From conversations with Indigenous people from Chile and parts of Mexico and parts of the US, I would speculate that this helpfulness would extend to the more-than-human world.  I've heard it said that all beings have a purpose and a major responsibility of everyone is to assist the others in fulfilling their purpose, whether the being is a human, a beetle, or a river.  This is second-hand information for me.  I wonder if anyone reading this could weigh in to respond?

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    Gregory Gilbert

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2018 | 05:36 p.m.

    Really interesting video.  I was wondering, though — does it make a difference if it is voluntary helping out or “encouraged” helping out for any benefits to learning?

     
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    Lucía Alcalá
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 08:40 p.m.

    Thanks for the question, Greg!  We haven't investigated the difference for learning depending on whether helping is voluntary versus 'encouraged.'  But I think it would make a difference how the encouragement occurs. 

    My guess is that helping that is voluntary as well as helping that is collaboratively welcomed would both help to establish an atmosphere of inclusion and belonging.  In a sense our instructor created such a collaborative setting by accepting the children's help and not making a big deal about it. 

    But if an instructor tried to encourage children's helping with either demands to help or making a big deal of helpfulness, singling out 'helpers', that might create an uncomfortable learning environment for children whose help is usually welcomed as bona fide contributors to endeavors. Our research suggests that Mexican-heritage children often are included, like everyone else, as contributors in their families and communities -- especially children whose families have experience with Indigenous practices of inclusion and collaboration.

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 09:18 p.m.

    Following on Barbara's response, we also found that when children help voluntarily is because they are attentive to their surroundings, keenly noticing when someone needs help and are ready to help. Their initiative to help, I think might be a key factor in their learning process. 

    For example, Mayan children who have extensive medicinal plant knowledge report on the importance of learning the uses of multiple plants to help when someone in their family is ill. In this case, learning is tied to their social responsibility to contribute to their community. 

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 01:14 a.m.

    I'm reminded of one of Lucia Alcala's studies in Mexico where she asked children about helping around the house.  'Do you know any kids who aren't helpful with the work at home?'  -- No.

    Why do you help? -- Because I live here.

    In a study led by Andrew Coppens, children in another region of Mexico expressed that they want to help at home.  Why?  Everyone helps. 

    It's a collaborative approach in which people pitch in together, adults and children alike, to get what needs to be done, done. 

     
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    Lucía Alcalá
  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 01:25 a.m.

    The big divide in middle-class community and family organization -- separating a child world from an adult world -- is a specific cultural way of organizing life (Morelli et al, 2003). 

    In contrast, in communities organized around the LOPI way of learning (Learning by Observing and Pitching In), the organization of families and communities includes children and adults as contributors.  Everyone brings what they are able to to the endeavor, and learns from each other in the process.  With flexibility in roles.

    The divided approach often shows up in classroom situations in which a teacher uses unilateral control.  This contrasts with collaboratively structured classrooms and schools, where roles are more flexible and children as well as teachers contribute to decisions and to the direction of learning activities.  In the book "Learning Together: Children and Adults in a School Community," teachers, parents, students, principal, and I wrote about learning to shift to a collaborative philosophy from an adult-control (or child-control) approach.

  • Icon for: Ricardo Baquero

    Ricardo Baquero

    Researcher
    May 16, 2018 | 11:15 a.m.

    Hi. I apologize for my very poor written English!
    I join, of course, to the interest of the basic works and discussion. I researched in Argentina and until recently we have implemented the NEPSO Project (Our School Ask for Your Opinion / Nuestra Escuela Pregunta su Opinión) whose general coordination was in Brazil. Although in our country it was implemented with certain peculiarities and did not imply questions of interculturality. However, it did imply variations in the classical subjective positions of professors and students in the public middle school. Schools that serve students of very humble condition. No doubt the novelty of the project was not far from already old pedagogical works on projects, etc. But if it brought as a novelty, for example, the free choice of a topic to be investigated in class even when the subject (for example, teenage pregnancy, waste treatment, etc.) did not necessarily coincide with the curricular area or subject of the teacher in charge of the space and participant of the project. This simple but infrequent issue motivated among other things, as noted, a varied and changing collaborative activity in the classical positions of students and teachers ordered by a certain object, multiple tasks to be distributed, information to be collected, etc.

    We have understood it as a modest way of rehearsing subjective positions different from those of "infant" / "student" (posiciones de infante/alumno moderno)-( https://www.academia.edu/22651948/THE_PARADOXES...  generated persistently by the modern school device. In fact we have worked on the idea that there is something paradoxical in the position of an "autonomous student": Our pedagogical goals of "autonomy" in the students confront the dominant forms of schooling in formats normalized by age, graduality and simultaneity, for example. Apologies for the long inaugural speech ...

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 05:36 p.m.

    Thank you for your comment, Ricardo!

    I'm interested in hearing more about your project. I agree with you that schools are segregated and limit students' initiative and interest in the activities. I am not surprise to see that the 'free choice of topic to be investigated' allowed students to develop their initiative and reposition themselves as 'contributing' members of their school and community. Similarly, allowing students to help can support their interest in a variety of projects, including an increase interest in science.

    I also want to invite you to take a look at our work on Learning by Observing and Pitching-in [LOPI]  (www.learningbyobservingandpitchingin.com ), which you might find useful as well as book by Barbara Rogoff titled "Learning together" based on a school in which parents, teachers, and students contributed to create the curriculum.   

  • Icon for: Ricardo Baquero

    Ricardo Baquero

    Researcher
    May 16, 2018 | 06:54 p.m.

    Lucia thank you for your response. I omitted to mention that I am relatively familiar with the perspective and evolution of Barbara's work. My intention was only to add to the analysis and exchange the "school question" as a homogenous and normalizing format for every child, beyond the relative attunement that it keeps with certain parenting practices over others. The value of your perspective has many facets, but I was interested in highlighting its contribution, once again, to deconstructing the naturalized view of both the supposed heteronomy of the abstract child presented by classical naturalistic evolutionary psychology and the performative character of school practices producing specific subjective positions ... just heteronomas like those of the infant / student.
    Apologies for maybe moving away from the focus and meaning of this specific space of exchange, but the example of the NEPSO experience, like so many others, helps, in turn, not to naturalize the supposed lack of interest or lack of "motivation" of adolescents in general and, very particularly, of the popular sectors. Usually the massive school failure is usually attributed to a great extent to such demotivation when it is really part of the problem and not its cause.
    The contrast between parenting and learning practices in non-school and school contexts I understand remains a strong clue to explore alternative non-estimating pedagogical practices.
    Thanks again

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 09:56 p.m.

    Gracias, Ricardo.  Your comments touch deeply on how children are conceptualized (and treated) in society and in schools.  The inclusiveness of children as bona fide contributors (in classrooms, in families, in communities) rests on an assumption that they have something to offer.  And in some worldviews, what they have to offer is not just contributing to the immediate task, but also contributing to the wellbeing and longterm community functioning, through their innovations as well as their knowledge of how things are currently done.

  • Icon for: Itzel Aceves-Azuara

    Itzel Aceves-Azuara

    May 16, 2018 | 06:33 p.m.

    Dear Professors Alcala, Lopez, and Rogoff

    Thank you for providing evidence of the cultural strengths underserved populations have. When children feel they can contribute to an activity, they are eager to participate, and their learning experience becomes enjoyable.

    I was wondering if you think this value of being acomedido and this skill of attentiveness to others needs could be likely to be transformed in our current context. Nowadays children in many places of the world, including children with Indigenous heritage, participate in practices and interact with cultural tools that focus on the self and individualization is becoming more prevalent. Do you think this value is still encouraged or will continue to be encouraged in families who are familiar with LOPI practices?

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 12:55 a.m.

    Thank you, Itzel! It's an important question to figure out which practices from heritage communities are maintained and which are adapted or lost in the face of involvement in other cultural ways.  This question applies to everyone. 

    But it's especially important for the practices of marginalized groups that are engaged in the dominant culture's practices.  Like the Mexican-heritage California children in our study whose families have extensive schooling -- They generally seemed to have maintained the Mexican value of being helpful without being asked, at home (like the Mexican-heritage children whose families likely had experience with Indigenous practices but not much experience with Western practices such as those in schools). But in an instructional setting, they were not very helpful (like the middle-class European American children).  With experience in two cultural systems, they seemed to adjust their approach according to the context.

  • Icon for: Angélica López Fraire

    Angélica López Fraire

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 08:07 p.m.

    Hi Itzel, 

    I'm glad you brought up that question because it's something that I think about a lot. On a personal level, I want to make sure the value (of being acomedid@) is passed down to my kids and want it as an expectation in my home. However, like I think you were insinuating and like Barbara commented, it's not encouraged in many settings. Because of this, attentiveness to surroundings and knowing when pitching-in  is "appropriate" is a very sophisticated skill. This is a skill very nicely demonstrated by the middle-class Mexican-heritage kids in the study who seem to be able adjust their behavior accordingly. This raises the question, though, of what that does to children who take this value into the classroom and are reprimanded or discouraged from participating in that way. On the flip side,  if school setting were more conducive to that type of participation, it could be empowering to many kids and lead to more academic engagement.

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 07:55 p.m.

    Hi Itzel,

    Your comment reminded me of my field work experiences with Mayan children, where some children are using new 'tools' that have a more individual focus (cell phones) for the first time. Because cell phones are not readily available in some communities, children often use them by fluidly working together. Children do not fight over it, and often times, two or more children were using the device at the same time. Perhaps, children will eventually take a more individualistic approach to these self-focused tools but my prediction would be that these children might create a new way of integrating these tools to their LOPI practices instead of replacing them. 

  • Icon for: Francisco José Rengifo-Herrera

    Francisco José Rengifo-Herrera

    Researcher
    May 16, 2018 | 09:54 p.m.

    Thanks you for show how mexican childrens are more attentive in the way of helping others. Some values, in Latin american cultures, are canalized and oriented to create collaboration and solidarity relationships. Brazilian children may offer other point of view. I think that, midle class children in Brasilia could follow more individualistic patterns, taking into account the social level to which they belong. In other social contexts of our city, may be, we found more actions founded in solidirity and collaboration. I will definitely show this video to my students of University of Brasilia. Professor Rogoff thank you again.

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 01:02 a.m.

    Thank you for your observations of the difference between middle-class Brazilian children who might follow more individualistic patterns and other Brazilian children who may be oriented to create collaboration and solidarity relationships.  I imagine that the middle-class children's families have much more involvement in 'Western' practices like extensive schooling?  Is that the case in Brazil?

  • May 17, 2018 | 09:27 a.m.

    This is a really interesting video and project. I'm wondering to what extent are there individual differences within a culture, and are those differences predictive of scientific thinking? I'm also wondering what the mechanisms are that prevent helping in more Western-based formal educational settings? Is it more of a focus on performance v. mastery based thinking?

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 04:48 p.m.

    There are indeed important variations within any community (or family).  Are you wondering whether individual differences in helpfulness are correlated with interest in engaging in science? Or in skill in using the scientific method?  Or in knowledge of scientific principles?

    Our research suggests that children from Indigenous-heritage communities (of the Americas) that tend to help under their own initiative also tend to be more keen observers of events around them.  This is an important aspect of the scientific method.  Does this address your question?

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 04:50 p.m.

    You raise the interesting question of whether helpfulness may be discouraged in Western-based schooling by an emphasis on performance rather than mastery based thinking.  Makes sense to me.   Can others add to this question?

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 05:29 p.m.

    Interesting question David! 

    Another way we can think about the performance vs. mastery dichotomy is the goal of mastering a task. Many children in our studies have reported that they learn to do a task in order to help others and to be a contributing member of their family and community. When I asked Maya children in Yucatan, what happens if they don't help, most of them said "work does not get done" - and only a few responded in relation to individual consequences, like my mom would get mad or I won't be able to play with my friends. But the majority noted group-level consequences if they did not help. I hope this makes sense. 

  • Icon for: Ricardo Baquero

    Ricardo Baquero

    Researcher
    May 17, 2018 | 11:02 a.m.

    Thank you Barbara, I remembered about the video and the exchange that work of M. Mead Culture and Commitment, where to my surprise (I got in touch with her work in the 80s) she outlined the problem of "prefigurative" cultures in Western culture. Beyond the readings and uses that were made or made of such an idea today familiar about the fluidity and vertigo of the changes seems a good prophecy between the crossing of the cultural and the generational.
    I think it adds up, when I insist on the school format and the conceptions of modern childhood that they suppose, the problem that is implicit in several interventions like David's last, on the place that scientific knowledge occupies as privileged north. Either to evaluate competences or individual developments as supposed "degrees" of cultural development.
    I would agree with David's concern about the contemporary assessment of pedagogies by performance standards rather than the production of vital horizons of possibility that, to a large extent, also bear, as you Barbara affirms, children and young people.
    Thanks again

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 05:03 p.m.

    Hi Ricardo,  Thanks for connecting with the post from David Sobel (above).  I agree with your emphasis on how much the conceptions of childhood in Western culture are based on assumptions that the main activity of childhood is success in school.  Researchers and educators (and policy makers) sometimes even treat schooling as the GOAL of childhood rather than an institution that can support child development.

  • Icon for: Ricardo Baquero

    Ricardo Baquero

    Researcher
    May 17, 2018 | 06:06 p.m.

    I hope not to continue adding confusion :-). I could add that our experience in NEPSO before mentioned, goes in the same sense of the appreciation of Lucia about the priority given to the collective task.
    However, I think, also for a work done with researchers of the teaching of science, as physicists, that we add two problems. One of didactic pedagogical type that I think coincides with the distinction proposed by Griffin, Newman and Cole in their classic The zone of ​​construction of knowledge, where they described the task -at least in the school- as a "strategic fiction". That is, there would be multiple representations of the task, initially a referential agreement on "what to do", but in the representation of the teacher there would be a sort of "complete task" that makes sense at a certain moment in the didactic or curricular sequence or deals with a specific case of a general problem. In school logic, the assumptions or ultimate objectives that give meaning to the task are not always or almost never made explicit (and it is likely that as teachers we do not always have them clear!)

    I think that in the case of the teaching of science the problem of what we understand by mastering the forms of scientific thought is added. In this sense, it seems interesting to note that the genuine appropriation of scientific thought forms would involve understanding the cultural meaning of scientific production practices and not only "methodological" issues or even less, the development of conditions that are surely necessary, but not sufficient, as the development of logical forms of thought or forms of conceptualization proper-whether in Piagetian or Vygotskian key.

    Although it seems paradoxical following the same tracks of Barbara's works, I understand that the "decontextualized use" of semiotic instruments or abstract forms of thought are products of highly specific cultural practices.
    In school, therefore, 1.- the difficulties of creating meaning about schoolwork, 2 ..- the difficulties of mastering counterintuitive thought forms and 3.- the same sense of the experience of being schooled which, as Barbara has indicated, has been bureaucratized as an end in itself.Especially under the logic of an educational policy based on standards or utilitarian senses dictated by the market
    Sorry for the size of the intervention. I promise to be concise!

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 07:11 p.m.

    Thanks Ricardo, thoughtful comments!

  • Icon for: Maureen Callanan

    Maureen Callanan

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2018 | 06:57 p.m.

    Thank you Barbara, Lucia, and Angelica!  Your video communicates your fascinating findings very clearly!  You also raise intriguing questions about the implications of this cultural variation in helpfulness.  Are you suggesting that science activities in classrooms might be designed to better build on children's helpfulness and thereby broaden their participation in science?

  • Icon for: Angélica López Fraire

    Angélica López Fraire

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 08:58 p.m.

    Thank you for your very insightful and important question, Maureen! I think that many studies have demonstrated the benefits of having diverse curricula in the classroom (e.g. including material about diverse communities). Such benefits include empowerment  and better performance in school, particularly for underrepresented students. It also benefits students from all backgrounds as it only helps grow their repertories of knowledge. Also related to this is what you were asking about in regards to diverse pedagogical practices. Having instructive practices and activities that are designed to better build on children's skills would only engage them more in what they're learning and yes, I feel this would broaden their participation in science. This would also beneficial for all students, as it would expand their repertories of practice. Such practices also relate more to "real-world" application of working as team and collaborating in the workplace.

  • Icon for: Jamie Bell

    Jamie Bell

    Informal Educator
    May 18, 2018 | 07:20 a.m.

    Thank you for this wonderful video, Angélica, Lucia and Barbara. This specific finding about helpfulness as an important dimension of engagement and participation for some cultures is a great contribution to our field's knowledge base about culturally sensitive, asset-based approaches to facilitating learning.

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 19, 2018 | 04:16 a.m.

    Hi Jamie,  Thanks!  We are hoping that the opportunity to show the research findings with video will help many viewers become aware of aspects of engagement and learning that they might not otherwise notice -- or might take for granted.  We are so grateful to NSF for this opportunity to share what we are learning.

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 07:59 p.m.

    Thank you for your comment, Jamie! We hope that these findings can help change the 'deficit' narrative of minority children and hopefully move towards a 'strengths' approach. You might be interested in a recent article by Barbara and our research team (Rogoff et al 2017). 

  • Icon for: Ron Eglash

    Ron Eglash

    Researcher
    May 18, 2018 | 07:32 a.m.

    One way to think about this research is at a purely instrumental level: how can we use this to increase student engagement in science, or prepare them for team work in their workplace. But it also raises theoretical questions. Why do we have a system in which the children who help the least have the highest levels of academic achievement? Frameworks which enforce competitive individualism are not just a problem for pedagogy, but deeply entrenched in science itself. The counter-movements in STEM--cooperation as an Evolutionarily Stable Strategy in biology; Open Source in computing; emergence in mathematical physics--could be placed in dialog with your wonderful work advancing educational theory. Helping behavior is the tip of an iceberg of indigenous and vernacular cultural practices that can guide us to more sustainable and just forms of STEM.  

  • Icon for: Angélica López Fraire

    Angélica López Fraire

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2018 | 12:49 p.m.

    Thank you for your fascinating comments, Ron! I agree, such cultural practices can help guide us to expand the potential of STEM to reach more sustainable and just forms. Thank you as well for your work on generative STEM. It’s very eye-opening!  

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 19, 2018 | 09:40 p.m.

    Ron, I agree with your comments that collaborative practices, and the model of them that can be seen in many Indigenous cultural communities, "can guide us to more sustainable and just forms of STEM."  This idea sustains our work.  And we made it explicit in our video on cultural differences in collaboration, from last year's NSF Showcase -- http://videohall.com/p/1034

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    Roberto Estrada

    Parent
    May 18, 2018 | 07:46 a.m.

    Fascinating work. Being one of 7 children, participation in family affairs was the normal way to learn and help in our Mexican home. Those experiences in the formative years were very important to us. 

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 19, 2018 | 04:20 a.m.

    Hi Roberto!  How great to hear from you!  You mentioned that those experiences were very important to you and your siblings.  I wonder if you can say something about what effect it had for you, or why it was so important? 

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 20, 2018 | 02:32 p.m.

    Thank you for your comment, Roberto! I am also interested in hearing more about the impact of those early experiences of helping at home. 

    In a study with university students, we found that Mexican-heritage students who reported helping at home as children and receiving non-contingent gifts (domingos) for their contributions, felt that these experienced helped them stay in college and persevere during difficult moments. They understood their achievement of a college degree as a an achievement for the entire family. On the other hand, European-heritage college students who received allowances for helping at home, reported that this experience helped them learn to manage their finances (Coppens & Alcalá, 2015). 

     

  • Icon for: Victoria Carr

    Victoria Carr

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 18, 2018 | 08:07 a.m.

    I enjoyed this video very much. These are lessons that should inform preservice teacher education and be reflected on by teachers across cultures. Thank you!

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 19, 2018 | 09:35 p.m.

    Thanks, Victoria!  I wonder if you agree with the speculations in the entry below from Sue Allen, and my response, that issues of control are often central to teachers' priorities.  I've heard that the best-selling teacher 'training' books are the ones on classroom control.  Do you know if that is true?  If so, it would make it hard for teachers to prioritize children's voluntary help.

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 01:43 a.m.

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Victoria! I also think that teacher, particularly those working with children from diverse backgrounds, need to have a broader understanding of the practices children bring to the classroom. Teachers could build on their students' sophisticated skills and cultural practices, supporting all children to expand their repertoire of practices, instead of taking a more punitive approach. 

     

  • Icon for: Angélica López Fraire

    Angélica López Fraire

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 07:55 p.m.

    Thank you for your comment, Victoria! A nature playscape (as highlighted in your video) might be an interesting setting for look for these opportunities to help. 

  • May 18, 2018 | 09:02 a.m.

    So powerful and provocative! - thank you for sharing this work and encouraging comments.

    I wonder whether this might also predict a difference in families' behaviors when it comes to "co-investigation" that we encourage so much in museums and science programs (thinking of the Juicy Question work at the Exploratorium). For some (white middle-class?) families this is a tough thing to do, and they fall easily into a teaching-knowing-evaluating role.

    Another thought I had is to wonder about why a parent might not encourage help, and instead want to keep control over the flow of activity. I was thinking about risk-aversion and that some kinds of tasks (e.g. picking up spilled things) benefit from many contributors and have low entry-requirements for helpful participation, while others (e.g. fine-motor control tasks or things like testing something and then standing back to observe a system evolve) can actually be undermined by someone else coming over to help and participate. If I understand it, you tested examples where helping advanced the activity or was neutral but not potentially undermining. Perhaps white middle-class parents see the world as full of that third type, and they're risk-averse?

     

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 19, 2018 | 09:24 p.m.

    Thanks for these thoughtful comments, Sue! You noted that "For some (white middle-class?) families" it is tough for them to engage in co-investigation -- you observed that instead they fall into a teaching-knowing-evaluating role.  We have seen this in a number of our studies (e.g., Chavajay & Rogoff, 2002; Chavajay, 2006, 2008).

    I think this is connected with your wondering why a parent might want to keep control over the flow of activity, and not encourage help.  We think that the issue of adult control of children is often at the forefront of teachers' priorities, and also middle-class parenting. Perhaps middle-class parents, who have by definition spent many years in school, use the strategies from their schooling in their parenting.  Of course, there are many other possible interpretations.  Anyone want to weigh in?

    You speculated that middle-class parents are risk-averse -- and this could be based on not trusting people to help without messing things up.

    It is noteworthy that the Mexican value of being acomedido involves being alert to what is needed, and helping without being asked if help is needed.  Thus, an important part of this way of engaging is paying attention to what the situation calls for.  And not just meddling and getting in the way.  If someone is acomedida/o, other people can trust them to help without messing things up.

    Anyone else reading this who wants to elaborate?

  • Small default profile

    Toréa Rodriguez

    May 21, 2018 | 03:37 p.m.

    my curious mind also wonders what would happen if there was a youth exchange program between households, and whether or not the behaviors would model the household, or if they are imprinted too strongly by that age…  

     

  • Icon for: Barbara Rogoff

    Barbara Rogoff

    Lead Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 04:29 p.m.


    Thanks, Toréa!  Interesting question.  I think that people who aren't familiar with helping without being asked can learn to do it. 


    The issue would be what kind of conditions would be necessary?  One condition would probably be being embedded in a group where helpfulness is expected and supported.  Another condition might be being interested in learning from the group.   Skillful helping without being asked requires paying good attention to surrounding events, so it may also require learning to be attentive to surrounding events.  Cultural differences like those in helpfulness also show up in attentiveness to surrounding events, as we show in our 3-minute video at http://videohall.com/p/693 . So our hypothetical person would probably need to learn that too.


    Anyone else have speculations?


  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 04:47 p.m.

    Toréa, this is a very interesting question. I will add to Barbara's comment with another speculation. I think that our hypothetical person would also need to feel part of the group in order to want to contribute to the group (family) by helping without being asked.  Also, if this person’s contributions are supported and appreciated but the group, he/she would feel more incline to help on their own initiative.

    I’m interested in hearing what other people think about this interesting scenario.  

  • Icon for: Angélica López Fraire

    Angélica López Fraire

    Co-Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 05:56 p.m.

    That's a very important question, Toréa because it mirrors the scenario of having more instructional settings where helping in welcomed in the classroom and having some children who are not familiar with that type of set-up. I agree with Barbara and Lucía, if it is welcomed and if students/the hypothetical person feels part of the group, this type of helping can definitely be learned. It would only be one more skill for the person new to it and they would then be better prepared for future situation where this type of helping is needed. 

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.