Learning by Observing and Pitching In Overview


Children’s Learning by Observing and Pitching, previously referred to as learning through Intent Community Participation, involves the following features (from Rogoff, 2014, Human Development):

(1) Community organization incorporates children in the range of ongoing endeavors of their families and communities. Children are treated as regular participants in the community, with expectations and opportunities to contribute according to their interests and skills, like everyone else .

(2) Learners are eager to contribute and belong as valued members of their families and communities. They engage with initiative, to fulfill valued roles. Other people present are trying to accomplish the activity at hand, and may guide or support the learners’ contributions.

(3) The social organization of endeavors involves collaborative engagement as an ensemble, with flexible leadership as the people involved coordinate fluidly with each other. Learners are trusted to take initiative along with the others as everyone fluidly blends their ideas and agendas at a calm mutual pace.

(4) The goal of learning is transforming participation to contribute and belong in the community. Such transformation involves learning to collaborate with consideration and responsibility, as well as gaining information and skills. (A paradigm shift is involved in thinking of learning as transformation of participation rather than as the acquisition of knowledge and skills [see Rogoff, 1997, 1998].)

(5) Learning involves wide, keen attention, in anticipation of or during contribution to the endeavor at hand. Guidance comes from community-wide expectations that everyone contributes with responsibility (as in cultural values indicating that everyone in a family pitch in to help with household work). Guidance may sometimes also come from other people engaged in the activity, supporting learners’ opportunities to observe and contribute and sometimes providing pointers regarding the ongoing shared activity.

(6) Communication is based on coordination among participants that builds on the shared reference available in their mutual endeavors. This involves a balance of articulate nonverbal conversation and parsimonious verbal means. When explanation occurs, it is nested within the shared endeavors, providing information to carry out or understand the ongoing or anticipated activity. Narratives and dramatization that bring remembered or hypothetical scenarios to life also guide learning and development in a way that contextualizes information and ideas in the service of skilled problem-solving and appropriate action.

(7) Assessment includes appraisal of the success of the support provided for the learner as well as of the learner’s progress toward mastery. The purpose of assessment is to aid learners’ contributions, and it occurs during the endeavor. Feedback is available from the outcome of learners’ efforts to contribute to the endeavor and others’ acceptance, appreciation, or correction of the efforts as productive contributions.

Source: Rogoff, B., Alcalá, L., Coppens, A.D., López, A., Ruvalcaba, O., & Silva, K.G. (2014). Children learning by observing and pitching-in in their families and communities. Special Issue, Human Development.