Ecologies of Participation in School Classrooms

Jan. 01, 2010

This article was published in Teaching and Teacher Education, Vol 26 number 1, Author: Mark Boylan, " Ecologies of Participation in School Classrooms", Pages 61-70, Copyright Elsevier (January 2010)”.

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The concept of legitimate peripheral participation was developed by considering informal learning contexts. Its applicability to school classrooms is problematic. This is particularly so when teacher centred and decontextualised procedural practices predominate.

This article seeks to identify the ways in which participation in school classrooms is similar to and different from those described by Lave and Wenger, which claimed that legitimate peripheral participation is a universal feature of situated learning.

As a means to investigate situated learning as participation, the author focuses on one particular form of learning in school, which can be referred to as usual school mathematics.

By considering the nature of social practice, learning relationships, identity and participation in such classrooms in relation to legitimate peripheral participation as a construct, both these features and the construct itself are explored and critiqued.

To understand the complexity and multidimensionality of participation in both formal and informal learning contexts, the concept of ecologies of participation is proposed.

Lave and Wenger, 1991 J. Lave and E. Wenger, Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1991).

Updated: Dec. 15, 2009