Pedagogies and learning in cooperative and symbolic communities of practice: Implications for and from the education of Australian show people
Groups and organisations are not automatically sites of effective and transformative pedagogy and learning; such outcomes are most likely to occur when entities become communities of practice (Wenger, McDermott & Snyder 2002). One conception of community focused explicitly on the facilitation of pedagogy and learning is cooperative community, centred on five principles (Johnson & Johnson 1998). Another productive notion of community is as a symbolic construction, centred on members' shared consciousness and boundary maintenance (Cohen 1985).
One community that demonstrates the pedagogical and learning potential of cooperative and symbolic communities of practice is the Australian show people (Danaher 1998, 2001). Following generations of educational marginalisation, this community participated in a specialised program within the Brisbane School of Distance Education between 1989 and 1999, and since 2000 its members have benefited from having their own Queensland School for Travelling Show Children, established under Education Queensland's auspices.
This paper maps and portrays enactments of the cooperative and symbolic communities of practice in the school and on the show circuits. It identifies specific strategies that underpin the pedagogies and learning made possible in those communities of practice, and it considers possible implications of such pedagogies and learning for other educational contexts and groups.
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Education, Central Queensland University, Australia
Patrick Alan Danaher
Faculty of Education, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba QLD
Division of Teaching and Learning Services, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton QLD
Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London: Verso.
Anderson, J. L., Reder, L. M., & Simon, H. A. (1996). Situated learning and education. Educational Researcher, 25(4), 5-11.
Cohen, A. P. (1985). The symbolic construction of community. Chichester and London, UK: Ellis Horword and Tavistock Publications.
Cronin, J. F. (1993, April). Four misconceptions about authentic learning. Education Leadership, 50(8), 78-80.
Danaher, P. A. (Ed.) (1998). Beyond the ferris wheel: Educating Queensland show children (Studies in open and distance learning number 1). Rockhampton, Qld: Central Queensland University Press.
Danaher, P. A. (2001). Learning on the run: Traveller education for itinerant show children in coastal and western Queensland. Unpublished Doctor of Philosophy thesis, Faculty of Education and Creative Arts, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Qld.
Durham, S. (1998). Phantom communities: The simulacrum and the limits of postmodernism. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Giroux, H. A. (1992). Border crossings: Cultural workers and the politics of education. New York and London: Routledge.
Giroux, H. A., & McLaren, P. (Eds.) (1994). Between borders: Pedagogy and the politics of cultural studies. New York and London: Routledge.
Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (1998). The three Cs of effective schools: Cooperative community, constructive conflict, civic values. Connections: Journal of the Australasian Association for Co-operative Education, 5(1), 4-10.
Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Moriarty, B. J. (2000). Australian circuses as cooperative communities. International Journal of Educational Research, 33(3), 297-307.
Moriarty, B. J. (2004). Inter-systemic research and collaboration: Ethics and political dimensions and elements of risk among cooperative communities. In P. N. Coombes, M. J. M. Danaher & P. A. Danaher (Eds.), Strategic uncertainties: Ethics, politics and risk in contemporary educational research (pp. 143-154). Flaxton, Qld: Post Pressed.
Moriarty, B. J., Danaher, G. R., Kenny, M. D., & Danaher, P. A. (2004, June). Experiences and issues in implementing an educational innovation: Report on research conducted with children and parents in the show community and personnel in the Queensland School for Travelling Show Children and Education Queensland in Brisbane and Southport in August 2003. Rockhampton, Qld: Central Queensland University.
Newman, F., & Associates (Eds.) (1996). Authentic achievement: Restructuring schools for intellectual quality. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Smith, M. K. (2005). Community. In The encyclopedia of informal education. Retrieved June 10, 2005, from http://www.infed.org/community/community.htm
Weil, S. W., & McGill, I. (Eds.) (1989). Making sense of experiential learning: Diversity in theory and practice. Milton Keynes, UK: Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press.
Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice: A guide to managing knowledge. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
communities of practice, cooperative community6, educational marginalisation
PP: 47 - 56