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Education Theory Reading Network

A platform for discussion centered around issues in education theory - all welcome

Event details

At this meeting we will be dicussing the below paper by Samuel Taylor et al.


Mastering as an Inferentialist Alternative to the Acquisition and Participation Metaphors for Learning


A tension has been identified between the acquisition and participation metaphors for learning, and it is generally agreed that this tension has still not been adequately resolved.  In this paper, we offer an alternative to the acquisition and participation metaphors for learning: the metaphor of mastering. Our claim is that the mastering metaphor, as rounded in inferentialism, allows one to treat both the acquisition and participation dimensions of learning as complementary and mutually constitutive. Inferentialism is a semantic theory which explains concept formation in terms of the inferences individuals make in the context of an intersubjective practice of acknowledging, attributing, and challenging one another’s commitments. We first introduce the key concepts of inferentialism and consider the perspective on learning that inferentialism inspires. Then, we condense the lessons of the inferentialist concepts into a single mastering metaphor for learning and argue that learning consists in the process by which learners come to master concepts and practices. We conclude by discussing how the mastering metaphor could be put to work in a theoretical reconciliation of the cognitive and sociocultural dimensions of learning.

We will also look at the Sfard paper which the Taylor paper is an inferentialist answer to. See page 8 in Sfard paper for the position taken on 'Living with the contradiction'.

Hope you can make this meeting.