Critical reading: Teaching, as Learning, in Practice. Jean Lave #1

Download the paper here.

The main purpose of the paper (to me) is challenging a number of theories that see learning as merely an ‘individual’ mental process. These theories marginalize people for being ‘not so good at learning’. Secondly, these dualistic theories create divisions: successful in learning <-> not successful, normal <-> subnormal, good results <-> bad results, ideal <-> not ideal.

Therefore she (and Wenger) reconsider learning as a social and collective phenomenon.  Her understanding of learning as a social practice is developed on two major researches: one on tailor’s apprenticeships in Liberia, and one on learning in 19th-century mosque schools in Egypt.

Lave doesn’t suggest that the entire system should turn towards an education of apprenticeship, but it is valuable to look deeper into learning as a social practice so that education can benefit from these new insights on learning in practice.

Both perspectives on learning have effect on teaching in schools. “Learning, taken to be first and principally the identity-making life projects of participants in communities of practice, has a crucial implication for the teaching in schools.”

Mere classroom instruction versus a process of facilitating the circulation of school knowledgeable skill into the changing identities of students. In this second viewpoint, teachers should be intensely involved in communities of practice in which their identities are changing as well. Teachers should be ‘premium’ learners themselves. It made me think of this video:

Great Teachers Are Great Learners - AITSL from Innovation Unit on Vimeo.

Juliun and I are putting together our thoughts in this Google Doc.

We will again collaborate on a Prezi as a digital artefact.