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July 2022

Representation as shared activity: Situated cognition and Dewey's cartography of experience

Journal/Book: J Learn Sci. 1996; 5: 10 Industrial Ave, Mahwah, NJ 07430-2262. Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc Inc. 209-238.

Abstract: Dewey described the continuity of experience and the interaction of individuals with their environments as longitude and latitude for locating educative experience. This article examines three aspects of Dewey's Pragmatist philosophy as intellectual roots for current work in situated cognition. These aspects are used to organize a case analysis of two teachers working together to solve and design instruction for a typical algebra problem. The analysis focuses on interactional phenomena and argues that these phenomena are usually left out of studies of cognition and that they are critically important for understanding effective teaching. A close analysis of interaction supports a view of representation as shared activity, as an alternative to traditional cognitive accounts that focus exclusively on an individual's mental structures. In the moment-to-moment production and explanation of inferences about the mathematical structure of a problem, representations are activities in which these teachers are jointly engaged, rather than things that they individually have. Interpreting representation as a shared activity extends Dewey's cartography as a basis for studying mathematical experience and teaching.

Note: Article R Hall, Univ Calif Berkeley, Sch Educ, 4641 Tolman Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720 USA


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