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937 - Childhood and learning

17.07.2012 | 08:00 - 13:30
17.07.2012 | 17:30 - 19:30

Convener 1: Gomes, Ana Maria (UFMG (Univesidade Federal de Minas Gerais) , Belo Horizonte, Brazil / Brasilien)
Convener 2: Paradise, Ruth (Departamento de Investigaciones Educativas, Col. Granjas Coapa, Mexico / Mexiko)

Learning is a research subject that has been explored traditionally within disciplinary fields like Psychology, Education, Sociology and, much less, Anthropology. In the contemporary conceptual panorama of Anthropological theories, even if there is no agreement about the concept of culture itself, all approaches converge to the idea that culture (or alternative concepts, such as skills) has to be learned. Many ethnographies describe learning processes, but often as part of other topics under study, as a subsidiary issue to explain the mastery of some cultural practices, or more frequently by describing traditional practices. As a main concern, learning in school contexts is a potent model, particularly when the focus is on children’s learning. It continues to be a potent frame of reference that guides also the investigations on other practices, called “non-schooled”, or “non- formal”. Since the discussion of the apprenticeship model, and the situated approach (Lave and Wenger, 1991), learning processes in different empirical fields are focused on in investigations that take into account a multiplicity of settings – that can include indeed, but not in an exclusive way, the school itself.

This symposium aims to present the results of research being carried out in several American countries on learning and childhood in different family, community and school contexts. Using exploratory inter/transdisciplinary approaches, and specific methodologies, the studies focus on unusual or less studied cultural practices, like religion, sports, arts, dance and music, or other particular practices among specific cultural groups, as well as widespread contemporary practices like the use of modern technologies.

Keywords: anthropology of learning, childhood, situated learning

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