The Institute welcomed four Japanese colleagues to NYC (shown above at a briefing for Institute staff) for a close-up look at some Vygotskian-inspired performances of community development.
Natsumi Gunji (front row, center) a doctoral student in education at Tokyo Gakugei Univ. and her professor Norifumi Arimoto (back row, third from r.), who teaches educational psychology at Yokohama National Univ., met Lois Holzman when she visited Kobe, Japan. They were joined by Yuta Hori (front row, l.) another student of Professor Arimoto’s; and Masayoshi Shinhara (front row, r.) an aspiring musician and student of educational psychology at Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba.
The group made a presentation to Institute staff on Reconsidering Development: Some aspects of development in the U.S. and Japan. They discussed how they had worked to incorporate Newman/Holzman’s Vygotsky into their educational research and practice — in suicide prevention, in sex education classes with high school students and teaching “music-play” with a middle-school rock band. Said Dr. Arimoto:
We all love this Holzman/Vygotsky concept of development and engage in educational research and practice based on it…Development is not a phenomenon within a person, but the collective activity to create the environments that create people’s growth…[Holzman’s] Vygotsky at Work and Play, is the third cognitive revolution to me — characterized by performance…not a tool to interpret the world…[but] a guidebook to play with the world around us and to change the relationship between us and the world….With this book you come to want to perform who you are not within the very environments that create our growth.
[In our visit to NYC] we made sense of ‘development’ by playing with everyone and everything we met in the improv classes and in these conversations.
Read full presentation by Dr. Arimoto HERE.
The group visited the All Stars Project youth development programs, met Hugh Polk, M.D., at the Social Therapy Group community center in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and attended an improvisational music-making workshop led by faculty David Belmont and the Sweet Spot’s Michael Walsh.
Holzman has made several visits to Japan and has found a receptive audience among psychologists and educators. Her first visit in 2012 was organized by Professor Yuji Moro of the University of Tsukuba, who has been a major catalyst for introducing social therapeutics and Newman/Holzman’s Vygotsky across the country. In her visit to Kobe last November, Holzman presented on The How of Playing: Implications for Educational Psychology at the Conference of the Japanese Association for Educational Psychology and led a workshop for 50 faculty and graduate students on play and performance where she met Arimoto and Gunji.