“We might say that it is a semiotic articulation of a person’s evaluative stance toward interactions.” (p. 283)
“Our ontogeny recapitulates their phylogeny, up to a point. But only up to a point, and less so as developmental pathways come to be guided more by social interaction and culture-specific semiotic information supplied after birth.” (p. 284) ← Lemke probably won a bet with this one, “I’ll bet you can’t sneak ‘ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny’ into a peer reviewed journal article.”
“...even take a reflective perspective in the activity and see our own role in it; that is, we can frame a separated “me” from the viewpoint of this new dynamical “I.” Reflexivity is itself an instance of heterochrony.” (p. 285)
“Traditional macrosociology has resorted, after the manner of Latour’s “centers of calculation,” to assembling statistical data and to recognizing that it does so in a positioned way.” (p. 288).
Should anyone still be ignorant as to the reason of the perpetual divide between educational researcher and education practitioner?
I’d be hard pressed to find a single classroom teacher that would make it through the first two pages. Consequently, I’ll summarize the entire piece for the layman before proceeding:
The human experience exists of multiple and intertwined systems which interact over differing timescales.
Done. And, you're welcome.
The idea to consider time scales across ecosocial systems is an extension - or variation on the work of Karl Weick presented in his piece, Educational Organizations as Loosely Coupled systems, published in 1979. Lemke, however, approaches the loose coupling of systems from a chronological perspective rather than from an organizational one. The end result is the same: Education is complex and there is no way - seemingly - to be able to anticipate or account for all interactions. Lemke (2010) states, “We cannot study such a system from more than a few of the many viewpoints within it, and we honestly do not expect all these viewpoints to fit consistently together.” (p. 288) whereas Weick asserts, “Loosely coupled worlds do not look as if they would provide an individual many resources for sense making…” (p. 13) which is to say that indirect parts of a system are extremely challenging to understand.
The adiabatic principle and heterochrony are fancy ways of communicating something that most educators who have been in the classroom for any significant period of time understand instinctively: Sometimes the things we do in the short term have little to no consequence on the long term (adiabatic principle), and sometimes long-time established (or large scale) issues have immediate impact on the short-term (heterochrony). An example to the former would be an explanation or instruction given by a teacher which - for whatever reason - does not result in consequential learning by a student, and in the former a large system reform which requires changes in pedagogy.
The application to the educator is that one must seek awareness of both the small and short scale events as well as the large and longer term events and consider their impact on the learning of an individual. Simultaneously, the educator must also consider how these events act in systems - both as parts of smaller systems themselves, but also as parts of larger systems. In the case of the classroom teacher, the chief concerns are the events and systems operating most directly on the student.
With my own PoP, the aforementioned example of heterochrony is apt. The NGSS is a large scale reform, expected to have both far-reaching and long-term consequences. The standards, themselves, though are such that adherence to the intent of the NGSS has immediate consequence for pedagogy (heterochrony). Which is the entire reason why it is a problem in the first place: while most educators have no problem with the long-scale shift towards inquiry based teaching, more concept-based and skills-based learning and assessment, in the short-term, they are faced with significant challenges to what they are already doing in the classroom.
Lemke, J. L. (2000). Across the scales of time: Artifacts, activities, and meaning in ecosocial systems. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 7(4), 273-290.
Weick, K. E. (1976). Educational organizations as loosely coupled systems. Administrative science quarterly, 1-19.