How we do things around here: practice architectures that enable learning in the in-between spaces of the workplace

Susanne Francisco, David Boud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Those entering a new workplace often come with knowledge and skills relevant to the job they are employed to do; however, there will be site-based practices that they are unfamiliar with. Most of the learning about ‘how we do things around here’ occurs after a new role is commenced. This is certainly the case with novice Vocational Education and Training teachers. This paper considers what enables and constrains the learning of such new teachers. We use a particular form of practice theory, the theory of practice architectures, to focus on the arrangements that support the development of communicative learning spaces. At work, there are a range of spaces that are ‘in-between’ the personal and professional. We show how in-between spaces become communicative learning spaces where professional learning takes place. The development of communicative learning spaces is supported through arrangements that enable the intersection of the personal and professional, the sharing of stories, and the development of relational trust. The paper argues that while the fragile nature of in-between spaces means that formalising such arrangements can be counterproductive, approaches can be put in place to assist the development of communicative learning spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Vocational Education and Training
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Oct 2021

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