Tensions and possibilities for political work in the learning sciences

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11 Scopus citations


How can the learning sciences engage more directly with the political dimensions of defining and studying learning? What might this engagement offer for democratizing learning? This paper delineates a tension between deep studies of learning and explicit attention to issues of power, inequality and human dignity. We frame this as a productive tension that will generate new insights, as well as conceptual and methodological tools that contribute to the democratization of learning. We identify a history of ideas inside and outside the learning sciences that inform this objective, including the political dimensions of the field's founding theorists. We then offer examples of ways these tensions manifest in our own empirical work, and conclude by considering how explicit attention to political dimensions of learning can advance our theories about what learning is, about what it is for, and about the conditions that give rise to deep forms of learning for all.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)919-926
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS
Issue numberJanuary
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Event11th International Conference of the Learning Sciences: Learning and Becoming in Practice, ICLS 2014 - Boulder, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2014Jun 27 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Education

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