Clark University, Department of Psychology
Knowledge, Practice and the Developmental and Learning Sciences
This keynote address will examine emerging views of knowledge and practice in the interdisciplinary study of situated learning. A major part of the talk will summarize how young children in a variety of cultural settings learning diverse languages come to use talk to symbolically construct, reflect, and act within human activities. The second part of the talk, following along the lines of arguments made by some of the other plenary talks (especially that by Kardela), will explore the larger intellectual context within which the developmental-functionalist view of language development emerged. Specifically, it will be argued that emergent views about representation and knowledge upon which the developmental functionalist approaches of the sort Budwig, 1995 and Tomasello, 2003 developed are best viewed as part of a broader pendulum shift in the academy regarding representational knowledge. That is, I will argue that findings stemming from cognitive and functional linguistics and early child language development were early precursors to emerging views about situated learning, knowledge and practice. This shift has significant consequences for not only informal learning within human cultures but also impacts how we think about the development of knowledge in formal settings, including meaning making in the academy. The final part of the talk will consider how these broader shifts might impact research on language, culture and mind, as well as thinking about practice and representation in the coming years.