Tobbell, Jane and O'Donnell, Victoria (2005) Theorising educational transitions: communities, practice and participation. In: Conference on Sociocultural Theory in Educational Research and Practice, 8-9 September 2005, University of Manchester.

Transition in education benefits from an established and wide ranging literature which
includes transition into education and transition between educational institutions, for
children and adults alike. Much of the literature provides rich, descriptive material which
serves to illuminate the experiences of those managing the transitions or those undergoing
the transitions. However, we would argue that transition is an under-theorized
phenomenon and as such meta-understanding and frameworks for intervention are lacking.
In this paper we use the community of practice literature to explore the underpinning
psychology and sociology of transition with particular reference to learner identity and
shifting knowledge frames. Moreover, we argue for a more politicised understanding of
participation and employ ecological theory to explore the systemic processes which
influence individual trajectories in education and beyond. We conclude by arguing for an
ethnographic approach to transition research to address the ontological imperatives which
emerge from this proposed theoretical perspective.

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