Concept Mapping Lave & Wenger’s ‘Legitimate Peripheral Participation’

I recently revisited Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger’s canonical work, Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation (1991, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). I am glad I did, because I had forgotten how Lave and Wenger’s theory of “legitimate peripheral participation” might intersect with the sociological dimensions of my research regarding PLT practitioners’ engagement with scholarship of teaching and learning.

For now, I might let the “exhibit speak for itself”. Click on the image for an enlarged view of the concept map. Click here, for a dynamic Prezi version.

Lave and Wenger Legitimate Peripheral Participation


6 thoughts on “Concept Mapping Lave & Wenger’s ‘Legitimate Peripheral Participation’”

  1. Just a short note- Came upon this map via an academic library search on Lave and Wenger. I was intrigued and came this far! Great (and unusual!) to find some mapping/visual representation of what can seem very nebulous ideas.
    I’m an Architect also looking at Professional Education and Training in doctoral research. There seem to be many parallels with the legal profession, not least the agency of professionals as educators, and/or of students as pre-professionals.
    Anyway- thank you for a visual representation of Lave and Wenger’s Peripheral Participation!

  2. Regarding the identity of “teacher educator”, I agree, and conceptualise this as the “dual professionalism” I mentioned previously, and in the context of why scholarship of teaching and learning matters in practical legal training. My focus is on the practitioners rather than the students. I think Shulman’s “three Ps” of SoTL, “professionalism”, “pragmatism”, and “policy”, are useful portals through which to engage both extra-individual and individual resistances to change in professional education and training. I agree there is, in some places, “reluctance to explore the nature of the signature pedagogy” in legal education. I would go further and argue many might struggle to describe a signature pedagogy for practical legal training, beyond alluding to concepts like “experiential learning” without critical engagement, or empirical research.
    Some of my research investigates the hierarchies that regulate Australian legal education, partly by tracing its “history” since the 18th century, by analysing connected legislation, policy documents, reports, judicial speeches, commentary, current arrangements, etc. It is interesting to trace the multiple perspectives and voices that struggle for position within what appears at first to be the solid object of the legal education hierarchy. Part of my research engages with PLT practitioners directly, and that too discloses a multi-vocality, especially around the notion of “teaching” in Australian PLT. Many adopt a blend of teaching, coaching, and mentoring, with some placing more emphasis on one approach or another. I have found that PLT practitioners I interviewed do engage with SoTL in varying degrees through multiple dimensions of information, communication, reflection, and conceptualisation, and many would pursue SoTL in their field, given necessary supports.

  3. Hi
    Thanks for the email. I take your point regarding Bourdieu, he does allow for a potentially more fluid interpretation of the relationship between professional lawyers / educators .. but I think that there is a third identity – that of the teacher educator – which also needs to be considered. Kennedy reflects that within the hierarchy of legal education there is a resistance in relation to change in teaching and learning practices. There is also a reluctance to explore the nature of the signature pedagogy, Shulman et al 2006 and its relevance to how we teach teachers within teacher education which restricts opportunity for debate let alone potential for change.
    I am finding that, in my research, the students who are learning to teach within their discipline want specific guidance from their teacher educators. However, the nature of generic, homogenised teacher education at HE level this lack of specialism means that the role of the community around the student plays a greater role on the teaching that they carry out as well as their professional formulation. This appears to be the case even where there is little intervention within the community or value placed on developing teaching and learning.
    I hope that this makes sense to you so far and look forward to the next instalment !

  4. Hi Caroline, thanks for commenting on this post, and apologies for the long reply:

    Lave and Wenger discuss Vygotsky’s ZPD in their text at pp. 48-49 under the heading of “Internalization of the Cultural Given”. They criticise the focus on internalisation of learning as “leaving the nature of the learner, their world, and their relations, unexplored,” and creating a “dichotomy between inside and outside, suggesting that learning is largely cerebral”.
    Lave and Wenger comment on different interpretations of Vygotsky’s ZPD:
    1. “distance” between learners’ manifest problem-solving abilities when working alone cf when working with more experienced helpers (“scaffolding”); and
    2. distance between “cultural knowledge” provided by “socio-historical” context (with assistance from helpers) cf individuals’ “every day” experiences.
    In these interpretations, the role of the social is minimal, and ignores an “account of learning” in the “broader context of the social world”. Lave and Wenger point to a third “societal” interpretation of ZPD, in which researchers focus on “processes of social transformation” to extend “the study of learning beyond the context of pedagogical structuring, including the structure of the social world in the analysis, and taking into account in a central way the conflictual nature of social practice”.

    I’m particularly interested in this last interpretation, and work with Bourdieu’s “reflexive sociology” to explore the interplay between structure and agency. How are social structures inscribed in our practices? Can our practices influence structures? How does this work for “dual professionals” such as PLT practitioners, who are trained as lawyers to reproduce the dispositions and practices valorised in the juridical field, when their professional trajectories take them into social milieu of teaching and learning?

    I would argue Lave and Wenger adopt an approach resonant of that taken by Bourdieu, by endeavouring to take into account both the individual and extra-individual dimensions of teaching and learning.

  5. HI
    As ever thanks for this. I am wrestling between this and the Zone of proximal development – the idea that ZPD provides a freedom to choose how to behave in the environment, whereas LPP seems to suggest that the control is based with the environment, yet the outcomes appear to be the same/ similar.
    What do you think?

Comments are closed.