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On plants and textual representations of plants

learning to reason in institutional categories

Roger Säljö

pp. 279-289

An important contribution of the chapter by Clancey is that he combines Dewey's ideas of the transformative nature of learning with a detailed analysis of how students struggle with problems of how to familiarize themselves with intellectual tools such as graphs and concepts in statistics. In the present chapter, it is argued that when analyzing learning, one must consider the institutional character of the activities students are engaged in. Success and failure at learning in schools seem to have to do with mastering specific cultural forms of communication. The plea for multidisciplinarity is commendable, although Clancey's appeal to neuroscience for understanding how students grapple with scientific representations in class may be questioned. Meaning-making, interaction and learning about representational formats require that the object of inquiry retains its integrity as a human and collective practice of coping with and mastering ideas.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4419-7582-9_16

Full citation:

Säljö, R. (2011)., On plants and textual representations of plants: learning to reason in institutional categories, in T. Koschmann (ed.), Theories of learning and studies of instructional practice, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 279-289.

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