Moving between discourses: From learning-as-acquisition to learning-as-participation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


In this paper I address the question of how to talk about learning so as to be able to cope with at least some of the longstanding quandaries and to arrive at new insights. After a very brief historical review, I concentrate on two basic metaphors for learning in which current educational research seems to be grounded: the metaphors of learning-as-acquisition and of learning-as- participation. After stating the importance of both of these approaches and arguing that researches should be adjusting their leading metaphors to the questions they ask, I present my own choice: a brand of participationist discourse which is grounded in the vision of thinking as a form of communication and of physics and mathematics as types of discourses. The usefulness of the proposed way of talking about learning is then illustrated with the help of empirical materials taken from my recent study on a 7th grade class just introduced to negative numbers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2009 Physics Education Research Conference, PER
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2009
Event2009 Physics Education Research Conference, PER: Physics Education Research across Paradigms - Ann Arbor, MI, United States
Duration: 29 Jul 200930 Jul 2009

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


Conference2009 Physics Education Research Conference, PER: Physics Education Research across Paradigms
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAnn Arbor, MI


  • Acquisitionism
  • Commognition
  • Discourse
  • Learning
  • Particiaptionism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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