Humans are proposed to have evolved to learn through observation, imitation and practice or mimesis. In this article, the contribution of imitation, as an important but poorly understood aspect of mimetic learning, is advocated to create affordances for dyadic learning. However, learning through imitation is often perceived with negative connotations perhaps framed by viewpoints individuals have derived from experiences of rote learning and repetitive work. Yet, learning through imitation plays a key role in the learning of skills, including many of the non-verbal communicative and tacit aspects of trades work. This article explores the ways trade apprentices learn, with emphasis on the contribution of imitation. Recommendations to improve the reciprocal relationships between mentor and apprentice, initiated and developed through learning by ‘imitation’, are discussed and considered.
Vocations and Learning – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 27, 2017
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