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Title: Ownership in learning : a sociocultural perspective on pupil engagement, collaboration and agency in the classroom
Author: Hofmann, R. J.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2009
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The idea of personal involvement and significance in learning, frequently referred to as ‘ownership of learning’, is often taken for granted as something positive and unproblematic that individual learners can ‘have’. Building on a post-Vygotskian perspective, this study asks how we can understand ownership in a way that grounds it in socially embedded notions of learning and agency and in concrete classroom practice. The first part focuses on identifying and examining discourses of ownership in the literature and their theoretical underpinnings and pedagogical implications. It highlights the problematic nature of the dominant individualist notions of ownership focusing on autonomy, choice and self-expression. Alternative notions emphasising in-depth understandings; legitimation of pupils’ own perspectives; lived knowledge; connectedness to collective activities and risk taking are explored. The second part examines the multiple manifestations of learner ownership in practice in a classroom of 10 year olds engaging in a narrative approach to learning. The empirical data consists of repeated, in-depth pupil interviews grounded in participant observations of the learning activity. Pupils’ experiences of learning, collaboration, engagement and agency are studied as discursive ways of making sense of and giving meaning to the learning activity in which pupils participate. Finally, pupils’ perspectives (elicited in the second part) are used as ‘research critics’ of the theoretical discourses of ownership and agency. The detailed analysis shows that, while pupils talk a lot about choice and opportunities for expression, the sense of ‘ownership’ constructed in their experience is not solely about individual autonomy, personalised adaptation or personal voice. Rather pupils seek connectedness and interdependence. The study illustrates the social conditions which can enable classroom learning to become personally significant to children. The analysis brings out the need, and suggests ways in which, to build into classroom learning activity not only opportunities for individual distinction but opportunities for pupils to draw on each other’s thinking and other cultural resource.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available