Learning as a cultural process: Achieving equity through diversity

Na’ilah Suad Nasir, Ann S. Rosebery, Beth Warren, Carol D. Lee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

54 Scopus citations


In this chapter, we argue that learning and teaching are fundamentally cultural processes (Cole, 1996; Lee, 2008; Lee, Spencer, & Harpalani, 2003; Nasir & Bang, 2012; Rogoff, 2003). The learning sciences have not yet adequately addressed the ways that culture is integral to learning. By culture, we mean the constellations of practices communities have historically developed and dynamically shaped in order to accomplish the purposes they value, including tools they use, social networks with which they are connected, ways they organize joint activity, and their ways of conceptualizing and engaging with the world. In this view, learning and development can be seen as the acquisition throughout the life course of diverse repertoires of overlapping, complementary, or even conflicting cultural practices. Diversity along multiple dimensions is a mainstay of human communities. National boundaries evolve and change, bringing together people from different groups that have different ethnicities, languages, worldviews, and cultural practices. Migration and transmigration are not new phenomena. However, technological advances have accelerated cross-national movement. In 2010, international migrants constituted 3.1 percent of the world population. The greatest concentrations of international migrants relative to the national populations are in the United States, Saudi Arabia, Canada, across Europe, and Oceania (largely New Zealand and Australia).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences, Second Edition
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781139519526
ISBN (Print)9781107033252
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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