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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: From Learning Cultures to Educational Cultures: Values and Judgements in Educational Research and Educational Improvement
Author(s): Biesta, G J J
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Keywords: Learning cultures
Educational cultures
Educational research
Educational improvement
Issue Date: Nov-2011
Citation: Biesta GJJ (2011) From Learning Cultures to Educational Cultures: Values and Judgements in Educational Research and Educational Improvement, International Journal of Early Childhood, 43 (3), pp. 199-210.
Abstract: This article outlines a new approach to the study learning and the improvement of education. The approach consists of two elements: a theory of learning cultures and a cultural theory of learning. Learning cultures are different from learning contexts or learning environments in that they are to be understood as the social practices through which people learn. Learning cultures therefore do not exist objectively, but only in function of concrete practices of learning. This requires that the study of learning needs to, 'follow the learning'. In the cultural theory of learning, learning itself is seen as practical, embodied and social. While learning is often seen as a descriptive term, it is argued that the use of the word learning always implies a value judgement about change (for example change in cognition, behaviour or disposition). Unlike the study of physical objects such as trees or planets, the study of learning therefore needs to start from a conception of good or desirable learning. This becomes even more important when the cultural approach is utilised for the improvement of educational processes and practices. It is argued that in such cases we need to move from the notion of learning cultures to the notion of educational cultures. An educational culture is defined as a learning culture that is framed by particular purposes. A cultural approach therefore not only provides new ways for educational research and educational improvement, but also highlights that both research and improvement can only proceed on the basis of judgements about what counts as good or desirable learning.
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