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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)






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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