Cognitive and Instructional Processes in History and the Social Sciences

By Mario Carretero; James F. Voss | Go to book overview

now getting so precious little of what is covered, it would be better to select a few topics and explore them with the kind of reflective attention that can bring about understanding and learning.

The current state of history instruction in the elementary grades represents the misuse of significant resources. A teacher's time in covering the textbook topics and drilling students on factual knowledge is not a productive use of teachers' abilities. Filling students' learning opportunities with rapid-fire presentation of inadequate text accounts is a poor use of students' time and attention. Some serious rethinking of the goals of history instruction for young students and the resources needed to achieve the goals is required. Similar thought needs to be given to the types of experiences that help students achieve those goals. In particular, some significant understandings about learning, its complexity, and its constructive nature need to come into play.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The research described in this chapter was supported by the Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh, supported by funds from the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), United States Department of Education, and by a grant from the A. W. Mellon Foundation. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of OERI or the Mellon Foundation, and no official endorsement should be inferred.


REFERENCES

Alexander A. ( 1960). The gray flannel cover on the American history textbook. Social Education, 24, 11-14.

Beck I. L., McKeown M. G., & Gromoll E. W. ( 1989). Learning from social studies texts. Cognition and Instruction, 6( 2), 99-158.

Beck I. L., McKeown M. G., Sinatra G. M., & Loxterman J. A. ( 1991). Revising social studies text from a text-processing perspective: Evidence of improved comprehensibility. Reading Research Quarterly, 26, 251-276.

Black J. B., & Bern H. ( 1981). Causal coherence and memory for events in narratives. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 20, 267-275.

Chiesi H. L., Spilich G. J., & Voss J. F. ( 1979). Acquisition of domain-related information in relation to high and low domain knowledge. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 18, 275-290.

FitzGerald F. ( 1979). America revised: What history textbooks have taught our children about their country, and how and why those textbooks have changed in different decades. New York: Vintage.

Frederiksen J. R. ( 1981). Understanding anaphora: Rules used by readers in assigning pronominal referents. Discourse Processes, 4, 323-348.

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