Week 2.1

In conversation with Terry Elliot on the subject of students needing to reflect on on their learning styles it occurred to me that this is an identity question which might create a bit of panic in novice learners–especially younger learners who are just forming identities. Working with apprentices there was always the assumption of admitting them into the “world of working tradespeople”  as a natural first step in their training. This is as simple as talking to them as equally as possible, sharing the lunch area with them, watching out for each other and and many other member privileges so to speak.

There’s not a sense of deliberation in doing this, only that sharing knowledge with people considered unequal makes the process harder. An apprentice is expected to take on the identity of a trades-person along with the skills and I wonder if we do that with all students? Not to take on the identity of the teacher or as a scholar but to allow a level of equality such that they can develop a sense of membership in the learning process. How would we assess the acquisition of “voice” or confidence? How would we encourage it while allowing the student to remain a questioning and curious person? I say this because I’ve seen too much equality generate a sense of knowing all before the responsibility for the knowledge sets in.

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  • Jim Sullivan  On September 15, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    I really like you idea of membership in the learning process–I like to talk about it as joining a conversation (which requires knowing what’s been said and how people say things in this conversation…)

    • scottx5  On September 17, 2012 at 8:14 PM

      Jim, In construction there were a lot of conversations. There was no particular strategy behind talking to apprentices as, at least, near equals, it just seemed natural to include them in the continuing story of being a trades person. I worked at one place where my apprentice was female and one of the other journeymen refused to work with her or speak to her as if she was a “normal” person. Luckily the guy was a total asshole which lets me off the hook for defending him. As lot of the talk was cautionary tales of near tragic accidents, stories of great screw-ups, dumb jokes and other community building tales.

      Daniel Pratt talks of this in his: “Five Perspectives on Teaching in Adult and Higher Education” under the chapter “The Apprenticeship Perspective; Modeling Ways of Being.” Learning through becoming is how I understand it.

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