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
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
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
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