Plenary Talk: Mirta Castedo

Professor of Universidad Nacional de La Plata

Saturday February 18th


Félix Restrepo Auditorium, building number 50

Between the theoretical practices and the usual practices of writing teaching in initial literacy. Theoretical-methodological debates.

It is evident that the ways in which writing is conceived - the system and the genres -, the learning of writing and its teaching in the beginnings of literacy are closely related to each other, as well as to their learning and subsequent teaching.

Currently, there are two main trends in Latin America: cognitivism and psychogenetic constructivism. Each one proposes divergent explanations about what writing is and about its initial learning. Obviously, their approaches to teaching are also different. In addition, from its origins to the present day, both perspectives have undergone transformations, internal controversies and multiple debates. So these theories have not been immutable, even on the basis of some traits that identify and distinguish them.

Especially in the field of teaching research, the distinctions and relationships between theories are often treated in a reductionist and simplified way. For this reason, the first focus of this presentation will be to highlight certain "meanders" and "corners" of the development of "theoretical" teaching proposals, that is, constructed from research, with diffuse and often complex relations with common teaching practices. The complexity and detail of this construction, being invisibilized, hinder the understanding of the continuities and ruptures between the initial teaching of writing and its later development. At this point, the concepts of metalinguistic reflection and the epistemic function of writing play a central role. Second, this presentation will focus on the methodologies of knowledge production on the relationship between teaching and learning of writing in the classroom, i.e. on didactic knowledge, and their modes of validation - specifically, during the initial stages.

In this scene, on the one hand, I will present comparative didactic research among proposals of initial teaching of writing, paying attention both to its results and to the way of constructing the data on which they are based. On the other, I will refer to a recent research on the usual practices of teaching writing during the initial stages in Argentina. The analysis of the last inquiry allows us to appreciate the traces of both theoretical proposals in the practices. At the same time, it opens the debate on the interpretation of such observables - already reported in studies in other countries. Considering the perspective of teaching as a collective work and the complexity of conditions that are interwoven in the school institution, I will try to explain why the common teaching practices are not justifiable from the individual responsibility of each teacher and their reasons are not reduced to lack of clarity on theories.