My surroundings, my instruction, my peer relations and my own choices taught me to identify with certain practices over others. In this case, “a practice ... is intertwined with our self and sense of identity, on the one hand, and our relations and ways of interacting with other people, on the other hand.” (Smeyers and Burbles, 2010, pg 196). Also, as mentioned previously, part of the aim is that the initiated comes to internalise the practice, “thus changing ‘mere’ activities into practices where standards of excellence do matter.” (Smeyers and Burbles, 2010 pg 196).
Our practices in which we take part ("What We Do") are framed by the cultures (or communities or habitus) through which we navigate. And this journey occurs along three interacting planes: the community (and institutional) plane, the interpersonal plane, and the intrapersonal (or personal) plane. First, we have the overarching plane: the community (and institutional) plane. On this level we find the framework for the range of practices that an individual will encounter, whether it is found in institutions, such as schools, or information outlets, such as the media, or through cultural artefacts, such as literary figures or personality archetypes. In many ways, the community plane exerts a normative influence over individuals and it can also stratify participation along class or other divisions. Another plane, which is one step down, is the interpersonal plane, which contains the family, peers, and mentoring relationships which come to shape one’s introduction to, attachment to, scaffolding through and joint engagement in practices. These engagements shed light on how tastes are formed, processes are understood and goals are set and realised. However, the presence of role models is not enough for the adoption of practices. The third level contains the intrapersonal (or personal) plane, which alludes to the deliberation within the individual to choose, develop, select and refine practices. At this level, we consider both attitudinal and cognitive actions that an individual takes in order to become a practitioner. In the words of Rogoff (1995), “this is the process of becoming, rather than acquisition.”
Therefore, engagement in practice is shaped the presence of culture, access to role models and the personal adeptness and understanding to navigate the practice. Here, I want to emphasis the concept of access. Does the learner have access to the broader culture? Does the learner have access to the role models, supportive peers and mentors? Does the learner possess and develop the perseverance and talents that are necessary? And does the learner have access to the materials and enabling opportunities to exercise the practice? The last question introduces use to the issue of access to the material conditions of the practice, which is encapsulated in the activity system model present within communities of practice. Read More