Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cultural similarities and variations in guided participation - Rogoff 1990

Rogoff, B. (1990). Cultural similarities and variations in guided participation, Chapter 6 in Apprenticeship in thinking: Cognitive development in social context. New York: Oxford University Press.

In this chapter, Rogoff suggests that guided participation may be widespread around the world, but with important variations in arrangements for and communication with children in different cultures.

The most important differences have to do with the goals of development - what lessons are to be learned - and the means available for children either to observe and participate in culturally important activities or to receive instruction outside the context of skilled activity.

The general processes of guided participation appear around the world. Caregivers and children make arrangements for children's activities and revise children's responsibilities as they gain skill and knowledge.

In these accounts, which illustrate the ubiquity of social guidance and participation in learning through structuring of activities for novices in close involvement with others, there are also obvious cultural differences.

The most important differences across cultures in guided participation involve variation in the skills and values that are promoted according to cultural goals of maturity.

Along with differences in skills considered important (e.g. , reading, weaving, sorcery, healing, eating with the right hand) and approaches valued (e,g., individual achievement, speed in performance) are differences in the situations available to children for the practice of skills and incorporation of values.

There are striking cultural differences in the explicitness and intensity of verbal and nonverbal communication, the interactional status of children and adults, and the company children keep

An emphasis on explicit, declarative statements, in contrast to tacit, procedural, and subtle forms of verbal and nonverbal instruction, appears to characterize cultures that promote schooling

These joint socialization roles may be universal, although communities vary in the goals of socialization and in the means of communication. Observations of variations in guided participation across cultures draws our attention to
1. How the goals of mature contribution to the community organize the skills and values that children learn
2. The opportunities available to children for learning in the arrangements made for children's activities and companions
3. The responsibility that children take for learning from whatever activities they participate in, and the rich opportunities for observing and eavesdropping
4. The tacit but ubiquitous nature of children's guided participation
5. The unselfconscious nature of the roles of children as well as of their

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