Explicating forms of negotiation through personal work and learning practice
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This paper outlines a means of making more explicit some of the often taken for granted meanings and understandings of the concept of 'negotiation'. Negotiation is often used in constructivist adult learning theory to describe and explain the nature of learning through the activities of engaging in work and vocational training. Too often, in work and learning research literature, the concept of negotiation remains generic and under specified and so fails to sufficiently account for how workers and learners engage in the interactions and outcomes that constitute their learning practices. Drawing on ethnographic research undertaken with twelve workers from four different work places, this paper proposes that overcoming some of this lack of explication can be achieved by viewing negotiation as comprising four forms of joint activity that workers are engaged in through the enactment of their work and learning. These forms are realised, discovered, concealed and protracted negotiations. The research focused on workers' self description and explanation of the particular ways they went about their work and the purposes and outcomes accomplished through their personal practice. With this strong focus on the personal enactment and accounting of work practice, the findings indicate that workers can be viewed as negotiating their participation in work. Further, negotiation can be used to conceptualise personal learning practices as social processes of engagement in joint activity when the four forms of negotiation are used to analyse and categorise workers' personal practices. In this way, the value of research to make explicit what is often taken for granted, that is, workers' active participation in vocational practice, and the voice of workers as those who enact work and learning practices are brought together as the evidence of how research impacts individual workers and learners to understand more fully the nature of their personal work and learning practices. Such understanding can be the basis of improving work and learning performance by developing individuals' awareness of personal practice and its relational qualities as always negotiated accomplishment.
15th Annual Conference Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association (AVETRA)
Copyright 2012 AVETRA. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Use hypertext link for access to the publisher's website.
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