In one sentence : Learning, which is more than acquiring knowledge in a classroom, is fundamentally a social process and we learn by changing identities and changing practices.
This was quite a hard critical reading. The language and constructions needed more than a few reads. I still don’t have the feeling that i fully grasp the whole content.
Initially Lave does a comparison of social practice theory and traditional psychological learning. The first by a study on the Vai and Gola tailors from Liberia and a mosque school Law practitioners in Egypt. Some keywords :
demonstration, observation, mimesis
embeded in everyday activities
no general understanding
literal, context-bound understanding
given negative value
strong sense of worth, self respect, realistic take on live
Traditional psychological learning
individual, psychological, cognitivist
out of context
broad learning transfer
given positive value
distance, perspective, and disengagement from immediately relevant practical concerns in order for powerful,knowledge-producing learning to occur
Research on apprenticeship
- The generally accepted high value/low value given to the 2 systems is actually upside down.
- Focus should be on learners, not teachers.
- Learning is a socially situated activity
From Apprenticeship to Social Practice Theory
What is a theory of learning about ?
traditional : individuals’ psychological processes : knowing, acquiring knowledge, beliefs, skills, changing the mind, moving from intuitions to rules, or the reverse.
What does a theory of learning consist of ?
– Telos: that is, a direction of movement or change of learning
– Subject-world relation: a general specification of relations between subjects and the social world (not necessarily to be construed as learners and things to-be-learned),
– Learning mechanisms: ways by which learning comes about, diminishe in importance, people are becoming kinds of persons
What would happen if we took the collective social nature of our existence so seriously that we put it first ?
“Knowing” is a relation among communities of practice, participation in practice, and the generation of identities as part of becoming part of ongoing practice.
Teaching in Schools
Teaching is neither necessary nor sufficient to produce learning.
Supposed Identity change by bodies, trajectories, timetables, daily practices, and changing careers.
Actual identity formers : racialization, social class divisions, gender, sexual orientation.
What constitutes a great tacher ?
They should assume the identity, learn from their students and the proces, and also take part in the learning proces.
Why decontextualised learning could be useful :
Vygotsky believed that “the ideal of knowledge is not only universal but abstract and decontextualised” (Piaget, &Vygotsky) It is when the person can transfer the newly learned skill to a different context, which may require abstract thought, that learning has become “decontextualised.” The skills and knowledge initially gained as a result of learning being scaffolded are an example of intermental learning, whereas, when the individual internalises the learning and can generalise and therefore decontextualise the learning they have accomplished intramental learning.
Being creative is an asset that many jobs require. This is a training that can do great with abstraction and can even flourish better with practices that are totally outside of the work to be fulfilled.
The countered assumption that apprenticeship can’t produce new creativity and knowledge is not sufficient supported. The knowledge that is learned from a direct consequence of the job is not entirely new knowledge.
For me, in my experience as a student, the social collaboration of students in classrooms is evident and much more wide and visible than in the example of the US students.
Social identification, power relations, interpersonal struggles, and other non-academic processes take place at the same time as academic activities in the classroom (e.g., Cazden, John, & Hymes, 1972; Luke & Freebody, 1997; Mehan, Villanueva, Hubbard, Lintz, & Okamoto, 1996; Varenne & McDermott, 1998)
Predisposition or talent for some manner of learning is more important than finding a universal method of teaching. Again the student is the main object here.
In what way does social pratice relate to social learning online and to social media ?
Reflections in own job
In my own experience in teaching elderly students informatics, they really ask for instruction based learning, often not seeing a greater whole.
In the web designer course i stimulate unofficial group work and teaching each other. Questions about websites that the students have found and are curious about how they work are treated as a group exercise in probing the underlaying principles.
Computer programming languages are usually learned as an abstract language first. This understanding can be transfered to different actual languages.
Connecting critical reading 1 and 2
Students should be able to take part and determine what and how they learn/teach in a social practice (co-design)
The identity people take on is part of the learning proces (identity).
Social interactions between people are strategies on learning (skills as strategies).
The two examples in the article have a very clear and – most important – a limited set of educational source material.
If i would project this on my webdesign students, the resources would be found on the internet and would be plenty. But it’s not so evident to find the right information with adequate significance. (Well-ordered Problems)
Yet this in itself could be a part of the learning process.
Abstraction can create a fish tank / sandbox environment to experiment in.