This paper provides a rationale for incorporating situated learning experiences into interpreter education. Educational theorists contend that learning is not easily transferred from the classroom to real world contexts. Rather, authentic, context-based activity is required. For meaningful understanding, they suggest that learners must experience the (a) social interactions, (b) tools, and (c) activities within the context where they will later need to apply what they have learned. Based upon the review of situated learning literature, the degree to which situated learning is used can be seen as lying on a continuum of authentic interpreting experiences. Authenticity ranges from situations in which learners are directly involved in real-world activities within their natural context, to experiences which are removed from the context of real-world practice. This continuum will be shared as a guide for scaffolding student learning toward the real-world experiences they will encounter as they begin their interpreting careers.
Keywords: situated learning, ASL-English, interpreter education, context, authentic learning, community of practice
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