This article focuses on the interpersonal processes of coordinating shared thinking in group activities. We examine variations in several sociocultural settings in how children and adults build on each other's ideas in shared endeavors. First we contrast two models of instruction. One involves participants' building on ideas in shared endeavors, based on the theoretical perspective that learning entails transformation of participation in sociocultural activities. The other model of instruction, in which teachers transmit information and test for its receipt, is based on the theoretical perspective that learning occurs through transmission of information from an expert. We discuss this contrast using observations made in several different communities and institutions. These include observations of toddlers and caregivers in a Mayan and a middle-class European-American community in terms of their provision of lessons and alert participation in a group, and observations in elementary school classrooms in Japan and in the U.S. of children building on each other's thinking with the aid and involvement of their teachers.
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