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SocialTheory

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on January 22, 2006 at 1:12:47 pm
 


Social Theory: A social theory of learning


 

In Communities of Practice, Etienne Wenger (1998) makes the argument that learning is a process of social participation.

 

Wenger starts with four assumptions about learning, knowledge, knowing, and knowers:

 

1) We are social beings.... this fact is a central aspect of learning.

 

2) Knowledge is a matter of competence with respect to valued enterprises.

 

3) Knowing is a matter of participating in the pursuit of such enterprises, i.e., of active engagement in the world.

 

4) Meaning -- our ability to experience the world and our engagement with it as meaningful -- is ultimately what learning is to produce.(p. 4)

 

 

 

PARTICIPATION

 

Wenger (1998, p.4) insists that

"Participation here refers not just to local events of engagement in certain activities

 

with certain people, but to a more encompassing process of being active participants

 

in the practices of social communities and constructing identities

 

in relation to these communities. Participating in a playground clique or in a work team,

 

for instance, is both a kind of action and a form of belonging. Such participation shapes

 

not only what we do, but also who we are and how we interpret what we do." (author's emphasis)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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