Activity, Apprenticeship, and Epistemological Appropriation: Implications From the Writings of Michael Polanyi

Hung, D. (1999). Activity, Apprenticeship, and Epistemological Appropriation: Implications from the writings of Michael Polanyi. Educational Psychologist, 34(4), 193-205.

Cultural psychology stresses the inexplicable relation between situational context and activity. By being engaged in an activity, individuals appropriate not only the explicit mediational signs and artifacts (participatory appropriation), but also the implicit contextual cultural beliefs and epistemologies held by the social individuals (referred to as epistemological appropriation). The appropriation of hidden "rules of the art" (Polanyi, 1964), such as beliefs, has not been empasized in sociocultural studies, and the aim of this article is to describe the regulatory behaviors for epistemological appropriation. Polanyi's (1964) work on apprenticeship suggests some important regulatory behaviors for the learner - submitting to authority, following your master, and commitment to practicing - for epistemological appropriation. In this article, these self-regulatory processes have been referred to as submitting, mirroring, and constructing, and these processes are contrasted with the other-regulatory processes of scaffolding, modeling, and coaching, respectively. The article concludes with the directions for future research.


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