Personal Work and Learning Practices: Four Forms of Negotiation
Contemporary adult and vocational learning theories acknowledge the social and collective nature of learning. Throughout this body of literature numerous terms conceptualise and articulate the fact of individuals' learning as engagement in joint activity with others, with contextual systems and artefacts and with socio-historic knowledge. These terms include; communities of practice, co-participation, networks and knotworks, collaboration, experience, interaction, relational interdependence, co-configuration and negotiation. This paper focuses on the term 'negotiation' and its capacities to conceptualise a social theory of personal learning. The paper proposes that 'negotiation' is under theorised in the dominantly socio-cultural constructivist literature on work-based learning that uses the concept to illuminate something of the relationship between the individual and the social and the interactive processes that characterise workers' situated participative practices. Further, the paper proposes that overcoming some of this under theorisation can be achieved by understanding negotiation as constituting four primary interactive forms of joint activity that workers are engaged in through the enactment of their work. Those forms are referred to as realised, discovered, concealed and protracted negotiations. The case is advanced by drawing on the findings of a qualitative research project that examined the personal work practices of twelve individual workers from four different workplaces. This research indicates that workers can be viewed as negotiating their participation in work and that negotiation can be used as a metaphor to conceptualise personal learning practices as social processes of engagement in activity when the four forms of negotiation are used to analyse and categorise workers personal practices.
Proceedings of 7th International Conference on Researching Work and Learning (RWL7 2011)
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