21A.150 | Fall 2014 | Undergraduate

Teaching and Learning: Cross-Cultural Perspectives


Response Papers


12 of the class sessions feature a prompt for a short response paper (listed in the table below). Students will pick any six to write. These papers should engage explicitly with one or more of the readings. The intention of the papers is to help students digest the readings in preparation for class discussion, and it is perfectly acceptable if they raise more questions than answers. If students wish to write additional response papers, the six highest grades will be recorded.

1 Introduction None
2 Social Learning Each of the assigned readings from this week connects the development of mental abilities with transformative social interaction. What does an emphasis on social relationships reveal about learning that might otherwise be obscured in educational settings?
3 Apprenticeship as a Research Topic How does apprenticeship as both a social institution and a model for theories of learning contrast with school-based education? What might this comparison reveal about how schools work?
4 Apprenticeship as a Research Method Describe some of the empirical advantages to studying a system of knowledge from the standpoint of an apprentice. Are there any challenges or disadvantages particular to this methodology—acknowledged or not by the authors of this week’s assigned readings?
5 Initiation Ritual and Rites of Passage Describe what you learned during last week’s tea ceremony lesson, and the significance of how that knowledge was imparted. Would you characterize the lesson itself as an initiation ritual? A form of apprenticeship? You may wish to refer back to the DeCoker article and / or to the film “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” (from Session 3) as points of comparison.
6 Schooling Drawing on one assigned reading from last week and one assigned reading from this week, compare rites of passage and schooling as modes education (knowledge transmission) and socialization (the transformation of the self in society)? Do rites of passage and rituals of initiation accomplish things that schools can’t—and vice versa?
7 Social Reproduction If schools in modern democracies (e.g., France, U.K, and U.S.) are designed to promote social mobility, how, according to this week’s assigned readings, do they systematically perpetuate social inequalities? Is this an inevitable part of institutionalized learning, or is there something that can be done about this?
8 Imitation, Improvisation, and Creativity Is it possible to teach creativity? Does imitation stifle creativity, or promote it?
9 Language Socialization As an autoethnographer, reflect on last week’s lesson in improvisational comedy. How did the structure of the lesson reflect the instructors’ pedagogical goals? Can you describe the lesson as a form of language socialization? Could you analyze it in terms of “habitus”?
10 Acquiring Expert Registers What is the relationship between apprenticeship within a community of practice and language socialization within a speech community? How does the acquisition of specific kinds of verbal skill prepare people to participate as competent community members? Is the acquisition of skill through language socialization always empowering?
11 Personhood and Identity How is the acquisition of skills connected with the way people see themselves and conceptualize their place in their world?
12 Cognition and Perception How does the acquisition of expert practices transform processes of cognition and / or perception? What kinds of pedagogical practices or learning experiences are involved in transforming the mind and senses?
13 Techniques of the Body Drawing on your ethnographic observations at Taza Chocolates, describe how learning to taste chocolate is a form of sensory or bodily apprenticeship.