Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Learning, Democracy and the Problem of Trust

Dr. Jason Duque Raley, Carla Victoria Corral.

Sociocultural perspectives on learning help us appreciate the risks faced by all learners. In the first place, learning involves risk of personal failure vis-à-vis the acquisition of new knowledge or skills. As learners are members of communities of practice, learning also involves a social risk of failing to act according to socially enforced rules and values. Trust is important for navigating through both kinds of risk. In the former case, the novice must trust the expert to have the novice’s best interests in mind; in the latter, community members must trust each other to protect both one another’s interests and the interests of the community. Where teaching and learning are organized as democratic (i.e., deliberative) practices, both risk and trust take a specific local shape in the give and take of social interaction. Arguing for a theoretical and methodological framework that looks for trusting relations as a negotiated, interactional achievement, the paper includes a close analysis of a transcript of classroom talk, a discussion among an ethnically and linguistically diverse group of students considering the free speech rights of the Ku Klux Klan. The analysis reveals the details of two interdependent processes: (1) the intricate social interactional work involved in proposing, displaying, negotiating, and producing trusting relations; and (2) the way trusting relations make it possible for individuals to take up and to challenge perspectives along the tense lines of race and politics. Trust proves to be not only critical for learning but also, in the end, very hard work.


Dr. Jason Duque Raley  (United States)
Assistant Professor
Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, Dept. of Education
University of California, Santa Barbara

Jason Duque Raley is an assistant professor at University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his doctoral training in Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education in the area of Language, Literacy, and Culture, with special training in anthropology and context analysis. His current work explores the relationship among culture, learning, and social interaction, as well as the epistemology and practice of qualitative research. Recent research examines the relationship among culture, community, and everyday social activity, especially in formal learning settings.

Carla Victoria Corral  (United States)

Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, Dept. of Education
University of California, Santa Barbara

  • Trust
  • Learning
  • Democracy
  • Social interaction

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)