Our work with after school clubs impressed upon us the fact that cognitive tasks do not “just happen.” They are made to happen in joint activity among people. In places called schools children answer teacher questions and take tests. Under such conditions, the definition of a task is relatively straightforward because classroom interactions conform, more or less, to the constraints that characterize cognitive psychological experiments.
This line of reasoning suggested that it would be more useful to make the same task happen in different settings and then observe how it is was reassembled, transformed, dispersed, or destroyed in the course of the activity of which it is a part. As described in the narrative of Chapter 6, the Oceanside School Project implemented this alternative strategy by creating curriculum units in collaboration with two classroom teachers.
- Griffin, P., Cole, M., & Newman, D. (1982). Locating tasks in psychology and education. Discourse Processes, 5, 111‑125.
- Newman, D., Griffin, ., & Cole, M. (1984). Social constraints in laboratory and classroom tasks. In J. Lave & B. Rogoff (Eds.), Everyday cognition: Its development in social context (pp. 172‑193).
- Newman, D., Griffin, P., & Cole, M. (1989). The construction zone: Working for cognitive change in school. New York: Cambridge University Press