Te Arapiki Ako
"Towards better teaching & learning"

Social, cultural and historical perspectives

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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:28 by NZTecAdmin

Starting Points: Supporting the Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy has been developed acknowledging the contributions of theorists, practitioners and commentators whose works have influenced the provision of education for people and peoples who experience disadvantage. These contributors include but are not limited to:

  • Freire,6 whose view of adult learning is transformative: adults need and use literacy to ‘transform’ or bring about change in their own lives and in society.
  • Bourdieu,7 who developed the concept of cultural capital: the knowledge, values and skills that are passed on from one generation to the next. Where the values of teacher and learner differ (with the teacher placing more value on their own ‘culture’ than that of the learner), disadvantage may be perpetuated.
  • Vygotsky,8 whose concept of scaffolding learning has had a wide influence on educators at all levels. Put simply, Vygotsky’s theory is that learning occurs when the learner is engaged in challenging tasks that they can do with the support (scaffolding) of a person who has greater expertise. The scaffolding is removed as the learner masters the task.
  • Commentators and educators in New Zealand (for example, Jenkins, and Benton and Benton9) who have observed that the historical impact of colonisation and assimilation has meant that disadvantage and under-achievement have been experienced by Māori learners over several generations.

6 Freire and Macedo, 1987.

7 Bourdieu, 1973.

8 Vyotsky, 1978.

9 Jenkins, 1993; Benton and Benton, 1995.


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