Thursday, April 2, 2009

Accidentally found a podcast... with my voice in!

I was just checking out Global Kids and I found this podcast! I forgot I was interviewed! Didn't know that my voice was heard!

Acquisition and Participation use it wrong!

I was reviewing an article for a Journal a couple of weeks ago and I noticed that the authors had misconceptions on Sfard's (1998)article about the two metaphors for learning... They were only supporting the use of the acquisition metaphor, and it was mentioned only once, but there were two references, just for one small paragraph...which were not even supporting their actual claim... Even worse (from my perspective) was the fact that they were supporting the sociocultural perspective for the design of learning environments. The authors' views were very contradictory to each other; supporting only the acquisition metaphor but at the same time supporting situativity theory in a design that looked constructionist from the way they were presenting it! I am wondering whether we actually know what we cite and how we cite in the articles that we write. As academics, but more importantly, as educators in general, we need to be providing adequate and valid resources!

The two metaphors that Sfard described are the assimilation metaphor and the participation metaphor. For the acquisition metaphor, she supports that individuals assimilate learning (more behavioral and rationally oriented metaphor), while the participation metaphor is oriented towards the sociocultural perspective.

However, she supported that the participation metaphor alone does not solve the problem of learning, since there is not a problem stated from the situated perspective. On the other hand, empirical evidence alone does not solve any issue around learning either and both sides study different things with different approaches.

According to Sfard, both metaphors are needed, in order to avoid what she calls ideological “dictatorship”, where one metaphor guides all the practices. Each metaphor has different things to provide, that the other cannot. It is important to look at the particulars of learning from different perspectives if we want to understand them and develop critical theory around them. We cannot look at the educational practices without considering the contexts where they occur, and we cannot develop effective instructional strategies without organizing what is to-be-learned.

For using both metaphors, Sfard proposes that we can approach both metaphors as different ways of seeing things, rather than two competing views. She also supports that, even though it is hard to approach both perspectives as complementary to each other, researchers can adopt whichever metaphor serves their interest, depending on their area and subject of research.

I rejected the article submission telling the authors to review and use the citation more accurately (among other suggestions)!