Practicing in and learning from community placements

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Andrew, Martin and Kearney, Celine (2007) Practicing in and learning from community placements. New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics, 13 (2). pp. 31-45. ISSN 1173-5562


In 2004, the authors began a qualitative study into the value of community placements as sites of sociocultural and sociolinguistic learning among English as an Additional Language (EAL) learners studying a Bachelor of Arts degree. Students undertook community placements of ten hours, and wrote reflective journals detailing their observations of and participation in social, cultural and linguistic interactions. This paper reports on the key findings of the project over the past three years. It also applies the notion of “community of practice” (Lave & Wenger, 1991) to community placement within a framework that accommodates constructivist, sociocultural, poststructuralist and new literacy understandings of situated learning. This report discusses participant commentaries in terms of the ten most recurrent themes emerging from open-coded analyses of the data. The findings suggest that community placement has the capacity to provide significant experiences for students, and to impact on participants’ evolving identities as bi- or multiculturals. Community placements also provide opportunities for acquiring procedural, pragmatic and linguistic knowledge. The paper concludes that community placements can serve as communities of practice for the majority of language and cultural learners.

Item type Article
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Education
Historical > FOR Classification > 2003 Language Studies
Historical > FOR Classification > 2004 Linguistics
Keywords ResPubID24809, work placements, Language in the Workplace project, Workplace Communication for Skilled Migrants curriculum, communities of practice, COPs, cultural learning, language learning, learning community
Citations in Scopus 4 - View on Scopus
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