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Negotiating and crossing boundaries in extended learning settings Varpu Tissari University of Helsinki, Finland Symposium 22: Extending Learning across.

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Presentation on theme: "Negotiating and crossing boundaries in extended learning settings Varpu Tissari University of Helsinki, Finland Symposium 22: Extending Learning across."— Presentation transcript:

1 Negotiating and crossing boundaries in extended learning settings Varpu Tissari University of Helsinki, Finland Symposium 22: Extending Learning across Practices: Insights from Nordic Educational Realities, at 16.00–17.30, Ambassadors Room The 4 th Congress of the International Society for Cultural and Activity Research (ISCAR), 29.9.– , Sydney, Australia

2 Contents 1. Purpose of the study 2. Research questions 3. Theoretical framework 4. Research sites, participants, the data 5. Methodology 6. Recognizing the rich points

3 1. Purpose of the study The purpose of the present ethnographic study is to understand how boundaries regarding teaching and learning practices are being negotiated and crossed in extended learning settings.

4 1. Purpose of the study The focus in this paper is on analyzing how boundaries and boundary crossings are made visible in talk, interaction and actions of the participants whilst being engaged in teaching and studying processes at the comprehensive school and at the museums and out in nature.

5 2. Research questions How class teachers and museum professionals negotiate and cross boundaries whilst being engaged in collegial and multi- professional collaboration? How pupils negotiate and cross boundaries whilst studying and learning in extended learning settings?

6 2. Research questions What are the consequences of boundary negotiations and boundary crossings to teaching and learning in extended learning settings?

7 Teaching and learning are socio- culturally mediated and constructed processes, which include negotiations between the participants of the communities, as well as norms, regulations and ethical considerations (Kumpulainen & Renshaw 2007, 111). Learning is a collective process of meaning making; this process may include qualitatively different forms of participation (Kumpulainen & Renshaw 2007,111). 3a. Theoretical and conceptual framework: Socio-cultural theories of learning

8 Learning can be traced in interaction, thinking and reflection processes of participants, and in their voices (Bakhtin 1981; Renshaw 2004; Wertsch 1991; Kumpulainen & Renshaw 2007, 111). Learning can be explored by analysing discourses, voices and socio-cultural practices, which are constructed and reconstructed during the collective meaning-making processes (Kumpulainen & Renshaw 2007, 111). 3b. Theoretical and conceptual framework: Socio-cultural theories of learning

9 3c. Theoretical framework: The concept of boundary The boundaries are understood in this research in accordance with Akkerman and Bakker (2011) as “socio-cultural differences in values, motives, practices” or meanings which are “leading to discontinuity in action or interaction“ of the research participants representing different institutions, communities or groups.

10 3d. Theoretical and conceptual framework: Concept of boundary crossing The concept of boundary crossing can be used to examine how professionals at work may need to enter into territory in which they are unfamiliar and, to some significant extent unqualified (see Suchman, 1994, 25), and in which they “face the challenge of negotiating and combining ingredients from different contexts to achieve hybrid situations” (Engeström et al., 1995, 319). (See also Akkerman & Bakker 2011a).

11 3e. Theoretical and conceptual framework: Concept of boundary crossing In this study, boundary crossing is under- stood as an event/episode during which participants (i.e., pupils, class teachers and professionals representing museums and a nature school) are negotiating and combining ingredients (i.e. funds of knowledge) from different contexts in their activities extending across different learning settings and contexts (see also, Engeström et al., 1995, 319; see also: Akkerman & Bakker 2011a)

12 3f. Theoretical and conceptual framework: Concept of negotiation The concept of negotiation is defined as a discourse-based and situated activity, that is interactionally constructed in concrete social settings (Alan Firth 1995). Negotiation extends to all areas of social life, since social order itself is a ceaseless, negotiated process, where all forms of human interaction entail ‘negotiated’ interpretations, meanings, goals, roles, decisions, arrangements and outcomes (e.g. Berger and Luckman 1967, Strauss 1978; Firth 1995,10).

13 3g. Theoretical framework: The concept of boundary negotiation The boundary negotiation is understood in the present study as a negotiation on socio- cultural differences in values, motives and meanings which participants talk into practice teaching and learning processes in extended learning settings. These sociocultural differences are negotiated among the participants representing different institutions, communities or groups, and the consequences of these negotiations may have an affect on teaching and learning practices.

14 4. Research sites, participants, and the data Research sites: two classroom communities, two museums, and field visits out in nature Participants of the study: class teachers (N=2) and their assistants, 7-8-year-old- pupils (N=7), 9-10-year-old-pupils (N=18), and the experts representing two museums The data video- and audio-recordings from the planning meetings of the collaborators video-recordings from the field visits and from the lessons of natural sciences at the comprehensive school before and after the field visits video- and/or audio recordings from the interviews of the participants of the study, and cultural artefacts (e.g., scripts for study visits, assignments for students, learning diaries of students, photos)

15 5. Methodology: Methods Multi-sited ethnographic research (Marcus 1995) following the participants on their paths across different learning settings following the artefacts following the topics of discourses -> during which negotiation takes place Data collection methods ethnographic fieldwork by following the participants of the study at a primary school, two museums, and out in nature participating in and documenting the planning meetings of the collaborators interviewing the participants of the study, and collecting cultural artefacts

16 5. Methodology: analytical methods Interactional ethnography (Green & al. 2011) and Tracing rich points = moments when a researcher was confronted with a surprise or an unexpected incident, which function as an anchor for analyses. Backward and forward mapping (and scaling) Talking knowledge into being: Discursive and social practices in classrooms (Green & Dixon 1994) Constructs that define and guide teaching as a linguistic process research: e.g., Face-to- face interaction: a rule-governed phenomenon (Green & al. 1994) Ethnographic perspective (Gee & Green 1998)

17 The first rich point is linked to the way in which the boundary was established as a rule, namely "Do not touch the museum items". This study illuminates how boundaries and boundary crossings are brought to light in talk, interaction and actions of the participants whilst they were engaged in designing and implementation process of the study visits or whilst they were reflecting on these visits. 6. Recognizing the rich points illuminating a boundary emerging during the talk and interaction

18 The conversation rules and social practices related to the role-taking during the group work are related to the negotiation of boundary crossing, since the teacher actively negotiated with the museum educator whether the social practices of this classroom community having particular social and cultural modes of action could be taken into use also during the museum visit. The study illuminates the emergence of boundary negotiation practices and their consequences to collaboration, teaching and learning taking place in extended learning settings which are socially, culturally and historically embedded and intertwined. 6. Recognizing the rich points related to boundary negotiations

19 The museum educator had asked the teacher to conduct a pre assignment at the school before the museum visit. This was agreed by the teacher, and the pupils designed and draw a device for the “ghost” of the museum. However, it was a surprise for the researcher as well as to everybody else, including the teacher, the museum educator and the pupils, that the teacher forgot the drawings of the pupils at school. The pre and post assignments are ways of connecting the activities taking place in different kinds of learning settings in order to enhance learning across different settings, and to smoothen the cultural differences between them. 6. Recognizing the rich points illumining boundary crossings and their consequences

20 Thank you for your attention! Further information Varpu Tissari, MA, PhD student Coordinator Institute of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland https://tuhat.halvi.helsinki.fi/portal/en/ person/vtissari

21 Comments by Peter Renshaw Questions and comments Discussion

22 Abstract sent and published in Dropbox Formal education and its practices have been criticized for being unable to exploit fully the cultural resources outside the school, and to recognize and harness the experiences that pupils bring to school from other contexts (e.g. Resnick 1987; Sarason 1993; Tyack & Cuban 1997; Hubbard & al. 2006). This study examines the boundary negotiations and boundary crossings of teachers and pedagogical professionals representing out-of-school organizations whilst they were designing and implementing study visits to museums, to nature schools and out in nature. The study aims at analysing boundaries, boundary objects and boundary crossing in extended learning settings and their consequences to teaching and learning practices. The study draws from those socio-cultural theories on learning, which see human activities socially mediated, and learning and thinking situated in a cultural setting and thus dependent upon the utilisation of cultural resources and artefacts (Vygotsky 1978; Wertsch 1991; Bruner 1996). Boundaries are understood here as socio-cultural differences in values, motives and practices leading to discontinuities in action and interaction of the participants (Akkerman & Bakker 2011). The participants of this study were class teachers (N=2) and the pupils (N= 8+15), as well as professionals representing out-of-school organizations. I applied a multi- sited ethnography (Marcus 1995) and conducted an ethnographic fieldwork by documenting with video-cameras the activities of pedagogical professionals and pupils at the comprehensive school and out-of-school settings. I also interviewed the participants and collected some artefacts. These analyses focus on the rich points, which are moments where an ethnographer is confronted with a surprise or an unexpected incident, which function as anchors for analysis (Green & al. 2011). The present study illuminates how boundaries, boundary objects and boundary crossing are brought to light in talk, interaction and actions of the participants whilst they were engaged in the designing and implementation process of the study visits or whilst they were reflecting on these visits. Moreover, the study illuminates the emergence of boundary negotiation and crossing practices and their consequences to collaboration, teaching and learning taking place in extended learning settings which are socially, culturally and historically embedded and intertwined.


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