Maya children’s learning to be vernacular architects: it needs to be settled into your eyes and you need to have spirit/energy

1.3 Learning, knowledge and agency
Poster in a Structured Poster Session (SPS)
Tuesday Aug 29   01:30 PM to 03:30 PM (2 hours)
This paper presents partial results of an ongoing study on how Yucatec Maya children learn and contribute to sustaining knowledge and practices related to vernacular architecture. The study is a major component of a project on Yucatec Maya knowledge related to vernacular architecture whose ultimate goal is to be declared as intangible cultural heritage. My contribution centers on children’s learning by observing and participating in the construction of the tablado (arena) for bullfights associated with festivities in honor of the patron saint. Based on direct observations, I describe children’s engagement in the construction. Depending on their age, they may just observe, they may replicate what they observe or have observed, they may pitch in without being asked, they may be in charge of some stages of the process with or without adult supervision. However, learning depends on individual ability to observe (settle into the eyes) and spirit/energy as per expert adults. I finalize suggesting that these two concepts are central to the Yucatec Maya psychological and pedagogical theories and that understanding learning by observation and participation/pitching in requires a broad interdisciplinary approach. That is, what ethnographic, historical, epigraphy, linguistic anthropology, archaeological studies document about the cultural community in which children are born.
Cinvestav-IPN (Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute)