Learning, Identity, and Instructional Explanations

  • Jorge Larreamendy-Joerns
  • Tatiana Muñoz


Instructional explanations are the contributions to learning provided by teachers and texts. Instructional explanations contribute to learning by communicating particular aspects of subject matter knowledge; however, instructional explanations not only communicate content. They also convey a sense of what disciplinary fields are, of how they are organized, and of what it takes to be a legitimate member in disciplinary communities. This chapter examines the nature of instructional explanations as social, discursive actions and illustrates the role that instructional explanations can play in the formation of disciplinary identities, that is, in how one becomes what one is in a disciplinary context. We rely on data drawn from a study that investigated what students learned and how they learned during fieldwork in biology, a setting not yet thoroughly explored and of paramount importance for the biological sciences. The study focused on the nature of the interactions between experts and apprentices in the context of joint scientific practices.


Field Trip Subject Matter Knowledge Disciplinary Practice Instructional Explanation Disciplinary Field 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Center for Sociocultural and International Studies (CESO), Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia, in carrying out this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversidad de los AndesBogotaColombia

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