Who's the boss? Culture and the problem of transfer

Green, Jonathan H. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1468-1970 (2010) Who's the boss? Culture and the problem of transfer. The International Journal of Learning, 17 (6). pp. 393-402. ISSN 1447-9494


Transfer of learning, although arguably education’s most important goal, is also its most pervasive problem. Research confirms one of the classroom teacher’s most common complaints: that learners do not transfer what they have learnt in one subject to another, or fail to use what they have learnt in the school setting in the 'real world.' There may be many reasons for this – one being that transfer is often left to take care of itself. To counter this, cognitive-based strategies, such as 'hugging' and 'bridging', suggest that educators pay active attention to both structural and instructional elements in order to effect transfer: educators, can, for example, draw learners’ attention to extra-contextual opportunities to use their learning, or coach them to develop the thinking skills that allow the abstraction of transferrable principles.
Conceptualizations such as these, however, do not go far enough. Because these interventions rely on the instructor, the sought-after transfer may not occur once the learner is removed from the context and is required to act independently. What is preferred is a self-motivated, autonomous, mastery-oriented learner – one who will actively seek opportunities using his or her skills or knowledge in new contexts. Such a learner, however, will only develop if cultural conditions so allow.

This discussion explores the link between culture, learner agency, and transfer of learning. In so doing, it examines practical cultural concerns, particularly in a Thai context, that may help or hinder transfer of learning.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright is attributed to the author. Access restricted to paper at author's request.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Education (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Education (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2011 05:33
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2014 05:23
Uncontrolled Keywords: transfer of learning, learner agency, personal epistemology, culture, higher education
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130302 Comparative and Cross-Cultural Education
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/18382

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