In the March ending blast I wandered around my own lightly held framing of that time, yesterday. My frame changes, adapts. Obviously learning can’t be criticized on its own terms because it doesn’t really present any of its own terms. Various descriptions and atomizations hover around the barest actuality: a system is moved to a state different than its initial state.

In this respect, I read criticism of (whatever) learning theory as always being meta-theoretical and meta-critical. In that there are orders of theorization, their critical relations are also always matters of dialectics and perspectivism. Since there is no classic ordering available, no Newtonian moment for learning theory, meta-learning theory is fundamentally synthetic and, at beguiling times, is archly creative and open-ended, ambiguous; is often post-modern, ‘regimed’.

“The reflection or ‘constructivist’ view of experiential learning dominating adult education has drawn attention to the importance of reflection and the need to adjust pedagogy to acknowledge the importance of multi-dimensional experience. But the critical challenges cited in the previous section have shown that overly-deterministic understandings of human perceptions of experience, overly-cognitive understandings of relations between experience and knowledge, and overly-managerial interventions of educators in people’s learning from experience limit our theorizing, and threaten to repress both experiencing and learning processes. As Elana Michelson (1999) continues to remind us, “experience exceeds rational attempts to bound it, control, and rationalize it according to pre-existing social categories and sanctioned uses” (p. 151).”

Tara Fenwick. Experiential Learning: A Theoretical Critique Explored Through Five Perspectives (available at Ms. Fenwick’s academic portal, along with many other gems; her paper on Stephen Covey is terrific.)

Elana Michelson. Carnival, paranoia and experiential learning Ingenta [pay])

“This led me back to the tailor shops for another round of ethnographic fieldwork to try to characterize everyday math. The differences were striking, leading to the conclusion that the tailors’ math practices-that were supposed to be quintessential “formal,” “abstract,” “decontextualized” kinds of knowledge from the point of ill view of the formal/informal model-were socially situated, and had a contextually embedded character. This in turn led to the conclusion that it was not just the informal side of life that was composed of intricately context-embedded and situated activity:
there is nothing else.

And further, if there is no other kind of activity except situated activity, then there is no kind of learning that can be distinguished theoretically by its “de-contextualizalion,” as rhetoric pertaining to schooling and school practices so often insists. This has two implications at least: (1) that decontextualizalion practices, are socially, especially politically, situated practices (Lave, 1993)4; (2) examples of apprenticeship, which do not mystify and deny the situated character of learning, offer an easier site for the understanding and theorizing of learning than do schools.”

Jean Lave. Teaching, as Learning, in Practice (part of the resources @University of Miami and Florida International University’s “Cultural-Historical Activity Circle”.

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