Designing for Diversity and Inclusion: The Fifth Dimension
This paper examines a variety of ways in which the community-based, out of school, activity system called "The 5th Dimension" encourages both adaptation to local cultural institutional requirements and inclusion of marginalized young people in valued social practices thought to promote learning and development. We argue that the 5th Dimension exemplifies the methodology Vygotsky referred to as a “psychotechnical practice.” Two 5th Dimension programs, one a fully mature system, the other a system in the process of formation, are included. The first illustrates the way in which children with developmental disabilities are included among children whose developmental trajectories fall close to the local social norms. The second illustrates the ways in which a newly emerging system begins to build a culture of cooperative learning in which social hierarchy is markedly reduced vis a vis the norms of the broader society as a means of implementing the local idiocultural conditions theoretically required to promote development effectively. We conclude with a discussion of the methodological implications of the research.