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Through interactions with their social and physical worlds, humans learn to see others, themselves and their physical surroundings in new ways. When interactions do not occur, learning is inhibited. Such a view of learning was used as a lens to look at a physics class, 24 students and their experienced teacher in an Australian suburban high school. Our observations and interviews with teacher and students provided evidence that participants experienced themselves in different 'lifeworlds': not only did they describe the social world in different ways but also the physical world. Furthermore, we observed that participants interacted little, which prevented them from recognizing that they experienced different lifeworlds. All participants appeared to treat the physics course as an obligatory passage point and colluded to produce learning at a low cognitive level.
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