This case study examines Yanchar, Spackman, and Faulconer’s “Learning as Embodied Familiarization” (hereafter LAEF) framework in the case of a violinmaking apprenticeship. Its purpose is to critically examine each facet of the LAEF framework as manifest in the lived experience of both master and apprentice. While previous studies investigating this framework have used various qualitative and hermeneutic methodologies, none have done so from a prolonged, ethnographic perspective. This perspective comes from an immersive autoethnography in which I apprenticed under a master violinmaker in an informal, one-on-one workshop environment for six months working four to five days a week for three to four hours each day. By analyzing fieldnotes, interviews, artifacts and video recordings of work sessions, this article situates each facet of the LAEF framework in this lived experience of apprenticeship learning and explores its insights and limitations within this specific case. Findings show that LAEF provides a robust lens through which one may consider human learners as agents, meaningfully engaged in their own learning, where making deliberate choices when presented with unfamiliarity allows them to explore, gain experience, and become in the learning process.


apprenticeship, learning, agency, familiarity, autoethnography, qualitative research, embodied familiarization

Author Bio(s)

Isaac W. Calvert conducted his graduate work in Education, Philosophy and Religion at the University of Oxford and in Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University. He now teaches history and philosophy of education at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. His research interests include traditional apprenticeship teaching methods, human interactions in face-to-face teaching scenarios, and how different cultures and religious traditions treat teaching and learning as a sacred act. Please direct correspondence to isaac_calvert@byu.edu.

Dr. Hawkley holds a master’s degree in public health and a Ph.D. in Instructional Psychology and Technology from Brigham Young University. Her primary research interests include teaching and learning, agency theory and community empowerment education. In her research, she principally utilizes evaluation and qualitative research methodologies including appreciative inquiry and textual analysis.

Samantha Swift is an undergraduate student studying Elementary Education at Brigham Young University. Her primary research interests include education and visual art, learning theory and qualitative textual analysis.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.