Wednesday, September 14, 2005

LPP and pedagogy

Lave and Wenger take a pretty firm stance against prescriptive modes of pedagogy. I think this is a fair critique, but I would be interested to see if there are pedagogical theories out there that explicitly emprace legitimate peripheral participation. Is talk of a "decentered" classroom based on these ideas? Lave and Wenger seem to avoid the classroom in this book because many pedagogical theories are too abstract to be useful. I would agree that we can never "plug in" a given theory regardless of the situation; however, I would imagine there are "communities of practice" in the field of education that already implicitly embrace LPP and situated learning. A study of these communities/classrooms would be interesting. Unfortunately, I get the sense that such a study would end up showing the disconnect between how students learn and how teachers teach.

The book talks a lot about "community", a concept I've been thinking about lately. Has anyone read Against the Romance of Community by Miranda Joseph? I've been wanting to read this book for a while (mostly because arguing "against" community is pretty intriguing to me), and I wonder what she'd have to say about Lave and Wenger's use of community.

One final observation/question: Did anyone else find certain sections of this book to be opaque? I am always wary of saying that prose is "bad", but it seemed like I could almost notice places where different people were writing. There were sections that seemed to make a whole lot of sense to me, and there were other sections that seemed to trip me up (maybe the writing shifted to some kind of "technical mode?) Anyone else experience this?


Blogger jmj said...

I also was interested in the effects of LPP on pedagogy. For me, the question of how to implement the theory revolves around the student's ability to take credit--if only partial credit--for real writing accomplishments outside the classroom.

10:25 AM  
Blogger mdl said...

hello--I agree with your observation about the prose. And I'll say it...the prose is bad in some spots! ;) Seriously, I do wonder if it may be because I am not from a social science or education background, and perhaps I'd like to hear what some of the Ed Psych and others think. One critique I would make is that they don't seem to combine the different activities of the book as much as they could. They offer the theoretical framwork and then very briefly, they run through very mundane, plainly described case studies. I would have liked to have seen more integration between the theoretical framework and the case studies themselves. I don't think the case studies should be made to "speak for themselves," or naturally "Prove" their theory, in other words. Also, an applications section would have been interesting to consider other contexts in which their theoretical framework could be applied, as others are posting questions about how this could be understood in terms of the classroom, or perhaps, how this research could produce a useful marxist critique of the production/commodification of identity within specific workspaces, for example. This book read very much like a primer rather than an exhaustive study. Although, perhaps that is its purpose as a volume in a series.

4:20 PM  

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