Actions of Their Own to Learn

Studies in Knowing, Acting, and Being


Volume Editor: Bonnie Shapiro
What does it mean to take actions of one’s own to learn? How do human beings create meaning for themselves and with others? How can learners’ active efforts to build knowledge be encouraged and supported?

In this edited compilation, scholars from a diverse range of academic and professional backgrounds address these questions, grounded in the conviction that the ability to take effective action of one’s own to learn is itself an essential form of knowledge.

In an era of dramatic social, environmental and political change, the need to access vast amounts of information to make decisions demands that learners become active agents in their own knowledge development. Educators are transforming ideas about their role(s) as they strive to provide guidance to help learners take the lead in their own learning. Learners are building new ideas about their capacities to gather and organize information while working with others. No longer simply consumers of information, they are beginning to see themselves as capable and effective researchers. Researchers are also expanding ideas about their knowledge-gathering work and identities. No longer simply reporters of information, researchers are seeing themselves as learners, as they engage in deeper, more collaborative ways with participants in their research.

Chapter authors describe their dedicated, and often career long journeys to show the vital connections between knowledge, acting to learn, identity and being. To engage in this work means disrupting traditional ideas about how knowledge is most effectively acquired. This book will inspire researchers, educators and educational planners as they build the kinds of new participative structures needed to support individual and collective actions to learn.

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"This book delivers an unpretentious, accessible, humble, progressive, impactful collection of works. It unimposingly suggests, rather than enforcing a list of how-tos or should-dos for education. Through the sharing of research and learning stories, readers are invited to consider different ways of approaching their practice, and from this are offered a different perspective of what learners and researchers need to take actions of their own to learn."
- Simone Blom, School of Education, Southern Cross University, New South Wales, in Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 35 (2), July 2019, pp. 150 - 153

"This book presents a variety of qualitative approaches (narrative, interviews, autoethnography, case study) to activist learning in multiple and variegated learning environments. The scholarship affirms teaching that is firmly student-centered, where teacherly authority is decentered, and power between students and teacher is shared throughout the life of the learning cycle."
- Angela Cowser, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in The Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion