Book review: Exploring thinking as communicating in CSCL

Anna Sfard, Thinking as communicating: human development, the growth of discourses and mathematizing, Cambridge University Press, 2008
  • Gerry StahlEmail author
Anna Sfard raised the methodological discourse in the CSCL community to a higher niveau of self-understanding a decade ago with her analysis of our two prevalent metaphors for learning: the acquisition metaphor (AM) and the participation metaphor (PM). Despite her persuasive argument in favor of PM and a claim that AM and PM are as incommensurable as day and night, she asked us to retain the use of both metaphors and to take them as complementary in the sense of the quantum particle/wave theory, concluding that

Our work is bound to produce a patchwork of metaphors rather than a unified, homogenous theory of learning. (Sfard 1998, p. 12)

A first impression of her new book is that she has herself now come closer than one could have then imagined to a unified, homogenous theory of learning. It is a truly impressive accomplishment, all the more surprising in its systematic unity and comprehensive claims given her earlier discussion. Of course, Sfard does not claim to give the last word on...


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Copyright information

© International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc.; Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Drexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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