Understanding and the Making of Sense and Meaning in Everyday Activities

By:
Professor John Stevenson,
Dr Irena Yashin-Shaw
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This paper examines the relationships among commonly used ‘learning’ terms that have been derived from different disciplinary traditions. These terms include sense, meaning, development, understanding, development and speech. Each of these terms is taken to be problematic because of the assumptions about relationships among activity, speech and mental representations. The theoretical starting points for the paper are (1) Piaget’s ideas about the struggles involved in assimilation and accommodation as learners make sense of new experiences in their development, (2) Vygotsky’s ideas of the spontaneous and scientific development of sense and meaning and their roles in the development of thought and language and (3) Bartlett’s ideas about the dynamic and contextual nature of schemas. The data for the paper are taken from research on how people make sense and meaning in everyday activity. The paper seeks to tease out differences among these commonly used terms and to unmask some of the confounding that is involved. It concludes by addressing the problem of building relationships between different ways of making sense and meaning.


Keywords: Understanding, Meaning
Stream: Psychology, Cognitive Science and the Behavioural Sciences
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Understanding and the Making of Sense and Meaning in Everyday Activities


Professor John Stevenson

Professor, Professor of Post-Compulsory Education and Training
Centre for Learning Research, School of Vocational, Technology and Arts Education, Grifffith University

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

John Stevenson is foundation Professor of Post-Compulsory Education and Training at Griffith University. Other recent appointments have included: Editor, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Vocational Education Research Director, Centre for Learning Research; Leader of a Griffith University designated area of research excellence; Director Centre for Skill Formation Research and Development; and Head of various academic schools at Griffith University. Previously he served in several senior positions in vocational education and training (including Director of Educational Review, Assistant Director Curriculum, and Principal of Kangaroo Point College of TAFE). His research interests are: knowledge, activity, learning, learning environments and vocational education. He has won many competitive research grants and is the author of numerous publications. His other appointments have included, membership of many national and international editorial boards, membership of the New Zealand Education Panel for performance-based research funding to New Zealand Universities, and External Examiner for the Hong Kong Institute of Education.

Dr Irena Yashin-Shaw

Adjunct Research Fellow, Centre for Learning Research, Mt Gravatt Campus, Griffith University
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


Ref: I06P0040