Apprenticeship reinvented: cognition, discourse and implications for academic literacy

Nicholas Cope

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    Abstract

    Among educational theorists and applied linguists sharing a common concern with the learning and teaching of literacy, there exist divergent understandings of the term 'apprenticeship'. The more widespread and influential understanding is more precisely classified as 'cognitive apprenticeship', denoting a theory of learning that originated in North America in the late 1980s and which emphasises cognitive engagement and authenticity in learning tasks. Its application was intended to be in the first instance classroom-based but with strong links to the needs of the workplace; more recently, cognitive apprenticeship has been associated with the learning theory constructivism, and has been seen as especially applicable to vocational training. An alternative – and more recent – formulation is what might be termed 'discourse apprenticeship', closely associated with the work of 'Sydney School' linguists. The scope of the latter is not confined to the classroom: the focus falls on the deconstruction of systems of education, in this case in Australia, demonstrating how the 'apprenticing' of learners to differing stages of specialisation in the discourses of curriculum subjects relates to the demand in stratified industrial societies for stratified employee competencies. These two formulations, however, despite their sharp differences in political orientation, can be seen to share points of contact that suggest a new trajectory in Australian literacy studies. It is concluded that drawing on both perspectives within a critical framework offers a fruitful avenue for the development of academic literacy in English as a Second Language (ESL).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)42-62
    Number of pages21
    JournalProspect
    Volume20
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher version archived with the permission of the Editor, Prospect, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia. This copy is available for individual, non-commercial use. Permission to reprint/republish this version for other uses must be obtained from the publisher.

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