Skip to main content

A group psychotherapeutic perspective on transforming participation in a learning community

Abstract

The aim of this study is to investigate learners’ transforming participation as they enter and engage in a learning community. To do this, we investigated the micro-development of two students’ learning and collaborative practices in the context of a unique learning community that was fostered within a graduate level course. Interpretations of the data, which were reviewed by the researchers and triangulated by a group of expert and novice peers, led us to suggest three dimensions of transforming participation that is based on a group psychotherapy framework: (a) the social microcosm—examining one’s learning and collaboration practices in the LC in comparison with one’s everyday life; (b) developing the motivation to change based on dissatisfaction or a desire to grow; and (c) making incremental changes to practices in a socio-cultural context. We discuss the intricacies and implications of this framework for future research on learning communities.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

Notes

  1. Although there are many types of GPs, in this paper we refer to the principles underlying predominant GP, which has an interpersonal focus, as described by Yalom and Leszcz (2005) in their highly regarded review of the field.

  2. The second author of this paper.

  3. The LC included participants with various religious beliefs (Christian, Druze, Jewish, Muslim), mother tongues (Arabic, English, Hebrew), and nationalities (Israeli, Palestinian) that are aspects of the region’s intractable political conflict (Salomon 2006).

  4. Brackets signify additions for the reader to clarify the contributor’s intention or to provide meaningful information about the context.

  5. All quotes were originally said or written in Hebrew, and have been translated for this paper. As part of our study, we closely examined the meaning of every word to make sure the translation was as close as possible to the original intention of the contributor.

  6. All course participants were designated pseudonyms to maintain their confidentiality.

  7. See Points-of-You Coaching Cards series: http://www.thecoachingame.com.

  8. A collective community within Israel that has roots in socialist ideals, but today has adapted to modern lifestyle while keeping some traditional foundations.

  9. The number and letter Nx before the hyphen represent the week and type of session. The number represents the week; the letter represents either the ftf interaction (letter a) or online interaction (letter b). The numbers following the hyphen represent each utterance unit. In ftf sessions, these proceed when there is a change in speaker. For written contributions, these proceed with every paragraph that the writer has started. Lines are intentionally skipped when verbalizations or written comments are irrelevant. We occasionally omit irrelevant text to save space, represented by ellipses.

References

  • Ben-Zvi. D. (2007). Using wiki to promote collaborative learning in statistics education. Technology Innovations in Statistics Education, 1(1), 1–18.

  • Barab, S. A., Barnett, M., & Squire, K. (2002). Developing an empirical account of a community of practice: Characterizing the essential tensions. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 11(4), 489–542.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barab, S., & Squire, K. (2004). Design-based research: Putting a stake in the ground. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1), 1–14.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barzilai, S., & Zohar, A. (2014). Reconsidering personal epistemology as metacognition: A multi-faceted approach to the analysis of epistemic thinking. Educational Psychologist, 49(1), 13–35.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bielaczyc, K. (2006). Designing social infrastructure: The challenge of building computer-supported learning communities. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 15(3), 301–329.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bielaczyc, K., & Collins, A. (1999). Learning communities in classrooms: A reconceptualization of educational practice. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional design theories and models: A new paradigm of instructional theory (pp. 269–292). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bielaczyc, K., Kapur, M., & Collins, A. (2013). Cultivating a community of learners in K-12 classrooms. In C. E. Hmelo-Silver, C. A. Chinn, A. M. O’Donnell, & C. Chan (Eds.), The international handbook of collaborative learning (pp. 233–249). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bion, W. R. (1948). Experiences in groups. Human Relations, 1(3), 314–320.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brabender, V. (2010). Group development. In R. K. Conyne (Ed.), Oxford handbook of group counseling (pp. 182–204). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school (Expanded ed.). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brown, A. L., & Campione, J. C. (1994). Guided discovery in a community of learners. In K. McGilly (Ed.), Classroom lessons: Integrating cognitive theory and classroom practice (pp. 229–272). Cambridge: The MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 32–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cobb, P., & Yackel, E. (1996). Constructivist, emergent, and sociocultural perspectives in the context of developmental research. Educational Psychologist, 31(3/4), 175–190.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Granott, N., & Parziale, J. (Eds.). (2002). Microdevelopment: Transition processes in development and learning. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hagani-Mor, S., & Ben-Zvi, D. (2010). The design of wiki-based dialogue-enhanced collaborative learning environment (in Hebrew). In Y. Yair (Ed.), Proceedings of the Eight Annual Conference of MEITAL (the Inter-University Center for e-Learning, IUCEL). Ra’anana: The Open University of Israel.

  • Hakkarainen, K., Paavola, S., Kangas, K., & Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, P. (2013). Sociocultural perspectives on collaborative learning: Toward collaborative knowledge creation. In C. E. Hmelo-Silver, C. A. Chinn, A. M. O’Donnell, & C. Chan (Eds.), The international handbook of collaborative learning (pp. 57–73). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hod, Y., & Ben-Zvi, D. (2014). Productive failure in an emerging learning community: A group developmental perspective. In Y. Eshet-Alkalai, A. Caspi, N. Geri, Y. Kalman, V. Silber-Varod, Y. Yair (Eds.), Proceedings of the Ninth Chais Conference for the Study of Innovation and Learning Technologies: Learning in the Technological Era (pp. 60-64). Raanana: The Open University of Israel.

  • Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (2005). Learning groups. In S. A. Wheelan (Ed.), The handbook of group research and practice (pp. 441–461). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Kling, R., & Courtright, C. (2003). Group behavior and learning in electronic forums: A sociotechnical approach. The Information Society, 19(3), 221–235.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Konja, M., & Ben-Zvi, D. (2008). Collaborative learning processes in wiki-based environments in higher education. In Y. Eshet, A. Caspi & N. Geri (Eds.), Proceedings of the Third Annual Chais Conference on Instructional Technologies Research (pp. 165–170). Ra’anana: The Open University of Israel, February, 2008.

  • Lave, J. (1993). The practice of learning. In S. Chaiklin & J. Lave (Eds.), Understanding practice: Perspectives on activity and context (pp. 3–32). New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Lee, K., & Karmiloff-Smith, A. (2002). Macro- and micro-developmental research: Assumptions, research strategies, constraints, and utilities. In N. Granott & J. Parziale (Eds.), Microdevelopment: Transition processes in development and learning (pp. 243–265). New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Rogoff, B. (1994). Developing understanding of the idea of communities of learners. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 1(4), 209–229.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rogoff, B., Turkanis, C. G., & Bartlett, L. (2001). Learning together children and adults in a school community. London: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Salomon, G. (2006). Does peace education really make a difference? Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 12(1), 37–48.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sawyer, K. (2006). Introduction: The new science of learning. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of the learning science (pp. 1–18). New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sawyer, R. K., & Greeno, J. G. (2006). Situativity and learning. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of the learning science Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (pp. 347–367). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schoenfeld, A. H. (2007). Method. In F. K. Lester (Ed.), Second handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning (pp. 69–107). Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sfard, A. (1998). On two metaphors for learning and the dangers of choosing just one. Educational Researcher, 27(2), 4–13.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Siegler, R. S., & Crowley, K. (1991). The microgenetic method. American Psychologist, 46(6), 606–620.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Webb, N. M., & Palincsar, A. S. (1996). Group processes in the classroom. In D. Berliner & R. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (3rd ed., pp. 841–873). New York: Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Yalom, I. D., & Leszcz, M. (2005). The theory and practice of group psychotherapy (5th ed.). New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yotam Hod.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Hod, Y., Ben-Zvi, D. A group psychotherapeutic perspective on transforming participation in a learning community. Instr Sci 42, 949–970 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11251-014-9321-x

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11251-014-9321-x

Keywords

  • Group psychotherapy
  • Learning community
  • Micro-development
  • Participation transformation
  • Social microcosm theory