Understanding and the Making of Sense and Meaning in Everyday Activities
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
Professor John Stevenson
Professor, Professor of Post-Compulsory Education and Training
Dr Irena Yashin-Shaw
Adjunct Research Fellow, Centre for Learning Research, Mt Gravatt Campus, Griffith University