Ways of Learning in Indigenous Communities of the Americas: Observing and Pitching In

June 3, 2016

Professor Barbara Rogoff, Ph.D. examines indigenous children’s approach to learning and how educators can create a more supportive academic environment.

In many indigenous-heritage communities of the Americas, children learn by having the opportunity to contribute to the range of endeavors of their family and community, observing the activities around them and pitching in to help. This approach to learning seems to be less common in communities that segregate children from the range of activities of their community. In this presentation, Barbara Rogoff uses examples in Guatemalan Mayan and Mexican-heritage communities to discuss several key aspects that seem to characterize this way of learning: children have opportunities to contribute and take initiative, children and adults engage collaboratively and the goals of learning include becoming a responsible contributor.

Barbara Rogoff, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz Foundation Distinguished Professor of Psychology