The learning process of the apprentice can take on different patterns but it always entails language, tools and tasks, and relationships. The apprentice must learn the language and stories of their trade. With language the apprentice has the ability to communicate within and about their trade. The stories used to deliver the language guide the apprentice as they learn and make decisions in the action of the trade. For learning to be effective, the tools and tasks of the apprenticeship must parallel the tasks of the master and engage the apprentice in real participation. “Learners inevitably participate in communities of practitioners and that the mastery of knowledge and skill requires newcomers to move toward full participation in the sociocultural practices of a community.” (Lave,Wenger, p29) As the apprentice learns new skills, he is aided by the relationship with the master. In the master he can see who, and how he is to become. Learning in the apprenticeship is then not only to speak and do as the master, but to become as the master is.
In our teacher credentialing program, we are learning the language of the teaching profession, academic language. Along with that we are learning the story of the teacher. These stories will guide us to make difficult decisions as we increase our participation in the field of education. From the University we learn tasks and skills that will enable us to be good teachers. In clinical practice, we are able to practice alongside “masters” or “oldtimers”, as Lave and Wenger call the experienced practitioner. This practice involves a gradual release of responsibility, as our experience grows, so does our responsibility and participation. As participation becomes real and the language becomes second nature, we progressively become teachers, not just by trade but in the heart. Learning is “to understand it, to participate in it, and to become full members of the community in which it exists.” (Lave, Wenger, p 115)
Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.