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Social Aspects of Education

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We can explore the works of Etienne Wegner and Seymour Sarason, for example, ideas of 'Community of Practice" and 'Situated Learning'.  What sort of concludions has Sarason made regarding social and environmental scenarios in schools and how they effect the learning process?


In an effort to facilitate extended pedagogical efforts, courses are proposed weekly on The Public School website, informed by Plausible Artworld discussions.  Plausible Artworlds is a an ongoing event which  collects and shares knowledge about alternative models of creative practice.  The project currently operates as  a weekly public potluck hosted at Basekamp ( in Philadelphia.   More information can be seen at

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  • Philadelphia
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michaelgb's picture

Hi Diana!

I just borrowed Sarason's "Teaching As A Performing Art" which could be a good read for this class. Let me know if you still have an interest in making this class happend. I'd be excited to take part!


michaelgb's picture

Hi Diana,

This all sounds very good. I know you mentioned wanting to develop a four evening course, which breaks down to a series of four short reading, per evening, all exploring a specific theme around the social aspects of education. I see from the suggested readings that you could tease out some themes to build the evenings' readings and conversations around. Maybe the next step would be to put together a tentative outline of the course, incorporating the readings mentioned along with potential themes? I think we can then starting doing outreach to get more people involved.

Thanks! This all seems very exciting!

Re: The Social Aspects of Education

I could see the Sarason branching off into a separate class about Performance and Pedagogy. Additional reading for that class might include "Performing Pedagogy: Toward an Art of Politics" by Charles Garoian and a discussion of J.L. Austin's speech act theory.

For this class on the Social Aspects of Education, specifically 'Community of Practice' and 'Situated Learning,' I think adding the following readings might make for a good discussion:

*Indigenous Education and the Ecology of Community by M. Fettes, In Indigenous Community-Based Education. (Does Fettes challenge Wenger's definition of community?)

*Teaching to Transgress, by bell hooks (How might discomfort, dissent, and exclusion create a learning environment?)

*Moving Democracy: Industrial Areas Foundation Social Movements and the Political Arts of Listening, Traveling, and Tabling, by Romand Coles, In Political Theory 32(5). pp. 678-795. (By suggesting limits to our ability to listen, does Coles offer an alternative to 'communities of practice'?)

Since communities of practice are places where knowledge is co-constructed, I thought it might be interesting to discuss the different ways we "know." Feminist researchers like Marjorie DeVault propose that shared knowledge and understandings are often unspoken. Someone on the outside may miss key pieces of information unless they "listen between words." I'd be interested in discussing how this might affect communities of practice, especially online.



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