Learning through transitions: The role of institutions

  • Tania Zittoun


In this paper two models are proposed for analysing transitions in education. Firstly, transitions are the processes that follow ruptures perceived by people. They include learning, identity change, and meaning making processes. Secondly, processes of change are observed through a semiotic prism, articulating self-other-object-sense of the object for self, and located in a specific social frame. Transitions are thus analysed as reconfigurations of such semiotic prism. The paper proposes to highlight the role of institutions as social frames likely to facilitate, or constrain, such reconfigurations. The role of institutions in transitions is discussed through three case studies: the transition to vocational training, the transition out of a religious school, and the transition to work at war-time.

Key words

Development Institutions Ruptures Symbolic resources Transitions 


Cet article présente deux modèles pour analyser les transitions éducatives. Premièrement, des transitions sont des processus de changement qui suivent des ruptures perçues par les personnes. Ils comprennent des processus d’apprentissage, de changement identitaire et de construction de signification. Deuxièmement, ces processus peuvent être observés au travers d’un prisme sémiotique, qui articule la personne, autrui, l’objet et le sens de l’objet pour la personne, situés dans un cadre social spécifique. Les transitions sont comprises comme des reconfigurations de ce prisme. Le rôle des institutions en tant que cadres sociaux qui peuvent faciliter ou contraindre ces reconfigurations est mis en évidence. Trois études de cas de transitions — vers la formation professionnelle, hors d’une école religieuse, et vers le travail en temps de guerre — soutiennent cette proposition.


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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tania Zittoun
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut de Psychologie et Education, FLSHUniversité de NeuchâtelNeuchâtelSwitzerland

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