A social practice theory of learning and becoming across contexts and time

Main Article Content

William R. Penuel
Katie Van Horne
Daniela DiGiacomo
Ben Kirshner

Abstract

This paper presents a social practice theory of learning and becoming across contexts and time. Our perspective is rooted in the Danish tradition of critical psychology (Dreier, 1997; Mørck & Huniche, 2006; Nissen, 2005), and we use social practice theory to interpret the pathway of one adolescent whom we followed as part of a longitudinal study of interest-related learning. A social practice theory calls out the ways people pursue diverse concerns, become aware of new possibilities for action as they move across settings of practice, and learn as they adjust contributions to the flow of ongoing activity and to fit demands and structures of local institutions. It also highlights the ways that existing institutional structures of practice frame the choices people make about how and where to participate in activities. This perspective on learning is potentially transformative, in that it provides a way to promote equity by surfacing issues associated with linkages among settings of practice, networks of actors who support persons’ movement across settings, and diversities in structures of practices that shape opportunities to learn and become.

Article Details

How to Cite
Penuel, W. R., Van Horne, K., DiGiacomo, D., & Kirshner, B. (2016). A social practice theory of learning and becoming across contexts and time. Frontline Learning Research, 4(4), 30-38. https://doi.org/10.14786/flr.v4i4.205
Section
Articles
Author Biographies

William R. Penuel, School of Education University of Colorado Boulder

William R. Penuel is Professor in the School of Education at the University of Colorado-Boulder. His research focuses on the design and implementation of innovations in science, technology, and mathematics education.

Katie Van Horne, School of Education University of Colorado Boulder

Postdoctoral Scholar

Daniela DiGiacomo, School of Education University of Colorado Boulder

Doctoral candidate

Ben Kirshner, School of Education University of Colorado Boulder

Associate Professor

References

Bell, P., Tzou, C., Bricker, L. A., & Baines, A. D. (2012). Learning in diversities of structures of social practice: Accounting for how, why, and where people learn science. Human Development, 55, 269-284.
Bricker, L. A., & Bell, P. (2014). “What comes to mind when you think of science? The Perfumery!”: Documenting science-related cultural learning pathways across contexts and timescales. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 51(3), 260-285.
Calabrese Barton, A., & Tan, E. (2009). Funds of knowledge, discourses and hybrid space. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(1), 50-73.
Carlone, H. B. (2004). The cultural production of science in reform-based physics: Girls' access, participation, and resistance. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41(4), 392-414.
Cole, M., & Engeström, Y. (2006). Cultural-historical approaches to designing for development. In J. Valsiner & A. Rosa (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook on sociocultural psychology (pp. 484-507). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Crowley, K., Barron, B. J. S., Knutson, K., & Martin, C. K. (in press). Interest and the development of pathways to science. In K. A. Renninger, M. Nieswandt, & S. Hidi (Eds.), Interest in mathematics and science learning and related activity. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.
Dreier, O. (1997). Subjectivity and social practice. Aarhus, Denmark: Center for Health, Humanity, and Culture.
Dreier, O. (1999). Personal trajectories of participation across contexts of social practice. Outlines: Critical Social Studies, 1(1), 5-32.
Dreier, O. (2008). Psychotherapy in everyday life. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Dreier, O. (2009). Persons in structures of social practice. Theory & Psychology, 19(2), 193-212.
Engeström, Y., & Sannino, A. (2010). Studies of expansive learning: Foundations, findings and future challenges. Educational Research Review, 5, 1-24.
Gonzales, R. G. (2011). Learning to be illegal: Undocumented youth and shifting legal contexts in the transition to adulthood. American Sociological Review, 76(4), 602-619.
Gutiérrez, K. D. (2008). Developing sociocritical literacy in the third space. Reading Research Quarterly, 43(2), 148-164.
Gutiérrez, K. D., Baquedano-Lopez, P., & Tejada, C. (2000). Rethinking diversity: Hybridity and hybrid language practices in the third space. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 6(4), 286-303.
Gutiérrez, K. D., & Vossoughi, S. (2010). Lifting off the ground to return anew: Mediated praxis, transformative learning, and social design experiments. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1-2), 100-117.
Holland, D., & Lave, J. (2009). Social practice theory and the historical production of persons. Actio: An International Journal of Human Activity Theory(2), 1-15.
Ito, M., Gutiérrez, K. D., Livingstone, S., Penuel, W. R., Rhodes, J. E., Salen, K., . . . Watkins, S. C. (2013). Connected Learning: An agenda for research and design. Irvine, CA: Digital Media and Learning Research Hub.
Jefferson, A. M., & Huniche, L. (2009). Re(searching) for persons in practice: Field-based methods for critical psychological practice research. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 6(1-2), 12-27.
Jurow, A. S., & Shea, M. (2015). Learning in equity-oriented scale-making projects. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 24(2), 287-307.
Lave, J. (1996). Teaching, as learning, in practice. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 3(3), 149-164.
Lave, J. (2012). Changing practice. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 19(2), 156-171.
Lave, J., & McDermott, R. P. (2002). Estranged labor learning. Outlines, 1, 19-48.
Marx, K., & Engels, F. (1998). The German ideology, including theses on Feuerbach and introduction to the critique of political economy. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
McDaniel, M. A., Agarwal, P. K., Huelser, B. J., McDermott, K. B., & Roediger III, H. L. (2011). Test-enhanced learning in a middle school science classroom: The effects of quiz frequency and placement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103(2), 399.
Mørck, L. L. (2010). Expansive learning as production of community. In W. R. Penuel & K. O'Connor (Eds.), Learning research as a human science. Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education (Vol. 109, pp. 176-191). New York, NY: Teachers College Record.
Mørck, L. L., & Huniche, L. (2006). Critical psychology in a Danish context. Annual Review of Critical Psychology, 5.
Nissen, M. (2005). The subjectivity of participation: Sketch of a theory. International Journal of Critical Psychology, 15, 151-179.
O'Connor, K., & Allen, A.-R. (2010). Learning as the organizing of social futures. In W. R. Penuel & K. O'Connor (Eds). Learning research as a human science. National Society for Studies in Education, 109(1), 160-175.
Pickering, A. (1995). The mangle of practice: Time, agency, and science. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Polman, J. L., & Miller, D. (2010). Changing stories: Trajectories of identification among African American youth in a science outreach apprenticeship. American Educational Research Journal, 47(4), 879-918.
Varenne, H., & McDermott, R. P. (1998). Successful failure: The school America builds. New York: Westview Press.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1934/1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1987). Thought and language (A. Kozulin, Trans.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.