D.B. El'konin Archive

Footnotes and Comments

By Nikolai Veresov

First Published: 1971
Source: Voprosy psikhologii, 1971. No. 4, 6-20
Publisher: Soviet Psychology;
Translated: Nikolai Veresov (with over 100 footnotes and comments)
Transcription/Markup: Nate Schmolze
Online Version: Psychology and Marxism Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2000.

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Notes from Veresov

  1. There are two publications of the article of Elkonin. It was published in Voprosy psikhologii Journal in 1971, (4, 6-20) and then republished in 1989 in Izbrannie psihologicheskie trudi (Selected Psychological Works), edited by V. V. Davydov and V. P. Zinchenko (1989, pp.60-77). Although there not much differences between the publications exist, we have to take into account some circumstances concerning the sources Elkonin used. Thus, in 1971 he had to refer to Vygotskys Problema Vozrasta as to an "unpublished manuscript" whereas in the Edition of 1989 the editors mentioned (without making any reference to the numbers of pages) that the work of Vygotsky was published in Chapter IV of his Collected Works (Vygotsky, L. S. (1984). Sobraniye Sochinenii [Collected Works]).
  2. Analyzing Elkonin's views to the problem the reader has to take into account that in different periods he changed his approach, being in some sense very critical to himself. We have some grounds to assert that he himself was not completely satisfied with the periodisation based on the activity principle. In particular, we can find some items in Elkonins scientific diaries published in Russian in 1989. Thus, in 1966 he wrote: "The point that the cognition occurs only within action and through the action is correct, but at the same time this point is limited...What is in object is more than what is in action, and even various actions with objects do not create the complete representation of what this object is..." (1989, p. 483). On the other hand, "dominant activity do not necessary becomes the dominant activity for every child...(Ibid., p. 509).
  3. Here "...the processes OF mental development..." seems to be more correct.
  4. Here Elkonin means P. P. Blonsky.
  5. "Let us agree to call those times in a child's life that are distinguished from one another by larger or smaller crises "epochs' and "stages," respectively. Further, let us designate as "phases" those times in a child's life that differ from each other only by gradual imperceptible changes". See also (97)
  6. book (in the original Russian text kniga)
  7. This quotation from Vygotsky was missed by the Editors in the edition of 1989.
  8. In the 1989 Edition this quotation from Vygotsky starts from "What principles should be the basis for such a periodisation?
  9. Here Elkonin uses not the "material foundations" but the "real foundation" absolutely accordingly Vygotskys original.
  10. See also Vygotsky, L. S. (1984). Sobraniye sochinenii [Collected Works]. Moscow: Prosvesheniye, Vol. 4, p. 247.
  11. Here Vygotsky uses the term "periods" but not "ages" that means that there are different periods within the same age.
  12. See also Vygotsky, L. S. (1984). Sobraniye sochinenii [Collected Works]. Moscow: Prosvesheniye, Vol. 4, p. 252.
  13. "Periods" in the original text.
  14. It is much better to use "identification", clarification or "enucleation" since discrimination does not reflect the term Elkonin uses.
  15. See (14).
  16. Here Elkonin uses "transitions" perehodi, but not "stages".
  17. The term "dominant type of activity" does not reflect its leading role in mental development. The original Russian concept "veduschaya deyatelnost", the activity that leads the course of mental development is closer to the term "leading activity".
  18. See also Leontev A. N. (1983). Izbbrannie psihologicheskie proizvedeniya [Collected psychological works]. Moscow: Vol. 1., p. 285.
  19. The edition of 1989 includes also "...and, consequently, what type of orientation in it is under formation?"
  20. Here Elkonin uses the term "divorcement" (abruption) that corresponds the next paragraph.
  21. See (20).
  22. "..motives of activity".
  23. "Fourth, the mechanisms of the adaptation to the "world of things" and to the "world of people" that constitutes the content of mental development ARE SEEN as two fundamentally distinct ones". (emphasis mine N.V.)
  24. It is in this note Elkonin writes: " An analysis of the historical conditions surrounding the origins of this dualism and parallelism is beyond the scope of the present study. We shall merely remark that these notions are the reflection of the alienation of man from the products of his activity as that alienation actually exists in a class society".
  25. See (26).
  26. Here, as in (25) Elkonin uses the same term "mesto" that is literary "the place" or "position".
  27. "...children.."
  28.   "...the child - the individual adult". This is exactly the place where "the conjunction "and" can, of course, imply contrast as well as combination"...
  29. "Special process of childs learning (assimilation usvoenie N.V.) the social modes of actions with objects becomes internally (essentially N.V.) necessary".
  30. Here the note of Elkonin is: " This process of acquisition of socially evolved modes of action has been demonstrated in greatest detail in the investigations of P. Ya. Gal'perin and his associates."
  31. "The formation of the child as a member of society takes place during the assimilation of the socially evolved modes of actions with objects."
  32. "physical forces" in the edition of 1989.
  33. 33. 34. 35. Everywhere Elkonin uses the term "sense" (smysl) but not "meaning" (znachenie), that is essentially different. See also (87), (90).
  34. "... child's acquisition of modes of action with objects lead him obligatory to the understanding of adult as a bearer of the social aims of activity..."
  35. " types of activity, that is social by its nature"
  36. Here as in (36) Elkonin uses the term "zadachi" aims or tasks, but not ends.
  37. "Outwardly it appears for the child as the transformation of the objects and their production"
  38. "the aims"
  39. Here as in (36), (38) and (40) Elkonin uses the same term zadachi (aims or tasks).
  40. Obvious misprint in the edition of 1989 zadachi motivov (aims of motives) (Elkonin, 1989, p. 69) instead of zadach i motivov (aims and motives).
  41. "Issledovani nedostatochno" means insufficiently (incompletely) investigated.
  42. "It is remarkable that..."
  43. "...in this process of assimilation the child confronts with necessity of acquisition of new object actions that are required for performing adult activity". Here the word usvoenie assimilation (translated as learning) is not identical with ovladenie acquisition.
  44. "...this essentially unitary process of the child's life in society bifurcates, splits on two aspects"
  45. "upbringing"
  46. "labor activity"...
  47. Here Elkonin uses the word obscheniye (communication) the contact is a part of. See also (50)
  48. According to M. I. Lisina this is a special type of communicative activity (activity of communication), but not the "activity for personal contact" (see Lisina, M. I. (1986) Problemi ontogeneza obscheniya. Moscow).
  49. "a complex activity with the aim of communication with adult"
  50. "before the act of grasping has been formed"
  51. "acts of communication"
  52. "direct emotional communication"...
  53. "These same investigations established the time of child's transition..."
  54. "... - to object activity itself"...
  55. "of action with objects"
  56. an acquisition
  57. Here as in (54) Elkonin uses the same term neposredstvennoe emotsionalnoye obscheniye that is direct emotional communication.
  58. "the dominant role is now taken over by practical cooperation."
  59. "The child is occupied by the object and manipulations with it"...
  60. "Many investigators, both Soviet and foreign, have shown that..."
  61. "an intensive process of the acquisition of object- instrumental operations takes place..". See (67).
  62. " On this basis the generalisation of actions occurs"
  63. "on the basis of the detachment of actions from objects..."
  64. "human actions"
  65. See (63)
  66. "in the course..."
  67. "the child acquires..."
  68. "we have reason to believe that object actions themselves, and the successfulness with which he performs them, are for the child a way to establish the cooperation with adults". Object actions are performing by the child.
  69. "Communication itself is mediated by the child's object actions."
  70. "in play the child creates models (is modelling)"...
  71. human relations
  72. "due to special play devices..."
  73. "For what was it performed?" This means: With what aim was it performed, but not because of what (Why)? This point is essential for Elkonin discussing the problems of the human aims and social objectives of an activity.
  74. "This sort of "incorporation" takes place in play". Here the word also makes no sense.
  75. "which is the key indicator of his readiness for school."
  76. "regardless they conceive of the inner mechanism of that influence and whatever significance they ascribe..."
  77. The term learning activity Elkonin uses has nothing in common with the activity of formal learning since the learning activity how it was developed in the works of Elkonin and V. Davydov is not formal by its nature and psychological structure.
  78. See (79).
  79. "personal communication..."
  80. "of tasks that are being, or remain to be fulfilled..."
  81. [84. 85] everywhere "activity of communication"
  82. Here Elkonin uses the term "personal communication", but not social contact, or activity of communication.
  83. "the personal senses of life". The terms znachenie (meaning) and lichnostnyi smisl (the personal sense) are essentially different in a school of A. N. Leontev (the same for Vygotsky). See also (33), (34), (35) (90)
  84. This reference to Vygotsky was missed in the edition of 1989. See also (7).
  85. "fundamental senses"
  86. acquiring
  87. "within which..."
  88. "these are essential differences between the types of activity in this group"
  89. acquiring
  90. direct emotional communication. See also (54)
  91. learning activity. See also (79).
  92. intimate personal communication. See also (81).
  93. "Inserting these turning points into the scheme of developmental periods in childhood we arrive at the general pattern of epochs, periods, and phases shown in the figure opposite.". See also (5).
  94. "As the figure shows, each epoch consists of two regularly connected periods"
  95. "The first of these is the period dominated by the acquisition of objectives, motives, and norms of human activity..."
  96. "At this point preparation is made for the transition to the second period..."
  97. epochs
  98. "are structured on the same principle"...
  99. periods
  100. epoch
  101. period
  102. "from one phase within the period to the next"
  103. periods
  104. "for explaining of the functional significance of each previous period for the next one"
  105. epochs
  106. dichotomy
  107. This paragraph was missed in the edition of 1989.