Competent performances of situated identities: Adult learners of English accessing engaged participation

Doris Warriner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The Communities of Practice (CofP) framework and theories of engaged participation have profoundly shaped how we theorize, investigate, and represent a variety of learning and teaching processes, both in and out of classroom contexts. Within this framework, useful distinctions have been made between a teaching curriculum and a learning curriculum, with the former being interrogated for ascribing limited identities to its learners and the latter valued for the ways it prioritizes learning (and its resources) from a learner's perspective. Analysis of data collected utilizing ethnographic methods (e.g. document collection, participant observation, interviews) demonstrates that, even though the teaching curriculum of one adult ESL program itself provided limited "structuring resources" (and learning opportunities) to its learners, the learners' participation in the program helped them to recognize and value the kinds of engaged participation necessary to access membership in local workplace communities of practice. However, findings also show that while these adult learners of English managed to learn and adopt the practices of one community of practice, they remained excluded from legitimate membership in other communities of practice. The analysis raises questions about the limits and possibilities of a teaching curriculum that values "real world" experiences (and situated learning) in theory but does not prioritize them in practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-30
Number of pages9
JournalTeaching and Teacher Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Access
  • Adult language learning
  • Competence
  • Engaged participation
  • Learning curriculum
  • Situated identities
  • Teaching curriculum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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