Monday, October 22, 2007

Acquisition, participation, and creation?

Teemu Leinonen here and here refers to the work of Sami Paavola, Lasse Lipponen and Kai Hakkarainen, expanding the ideas presented in the 1998 Anna Sfard article "On Two Metaphors for Learning and the Danger of Choosing Just One."
Dr. Hugh Morrison at Queen's Belfast pointed out that article to me, and it's going to figure largely in my project. I was reading "participation" in Sfard, though, in terms of Aquinas's (Aristotelian) idea of knowing-as-participating. Now, I don't claim to understand that concept, but I know it's something I have to try to figure out, not least because it must shape Lonergan's insistence, from Aquinas, that knowing = being. I need someone to help me get a handle on ideas like those in David C. Schindler, “Towards a Non-Possessive Concept of Knowledge: On the Relation Between Reason and Love in Aquinas and Balthasar,” Modern Theology 22 (October 2006): 577-607.
I'm ordering copies of the Paavola article and another from 2005 so I can follow the "trialogic" idea, but in the way that I read Sfard, creation would be a subset of participation in the sense that, for example, someone who edits a Wikipedia article (creating) is participating in that knowledge community.
I was thinking of expanding Sfard's two to three, as well, but the metaphor I would add is "achievement," which would seem to be the way these authors read "participation": one learner interacting with a body of knowledge.
Both Eugene Peterson and Scot McKnight allude to participating in community as two-way: receiving and contributing, and it wouldn't be hard to connect this to current Trinitarian thought.
So . . . work to do.

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