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'Cigars on the flight-deck': new lecturers' participatory learning within workplace communities of practice

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Formal teaching development for new lecturers has become commonplace in many higher education systems over the past decade, and research into this practice has burgeoned. However, by contrast to broader professional development practice and research, lecturer development work retains a traditional individual focus. This article, therefore, focuses on examining the social learning of new lecturers. The new lecturers whose learning is examined worked in a highly international, research-intensive university. Through the lens of situated learning theory, affordances for and constraints on social learning in academic workplaces are brought to the fore. It is shown that new lecturers were enabled to 'appropriate' established workplace practices through various incidental participatory learning mechanisms. However, it is revealed that such mechanisms could also serve to both limit and distort learning. The article concludes by discussing the interplay of social and individual learning processes, and draws out certain implications for development practice.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Chester, Chester, UK

Publication date: 01 August 2008

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