Learning from Text across Conceptual Domains

Learning from Text across Conceptual Domains

Learning from Text across Conceptual Domains

Learning from Text across Conceptual Domains

Synopsis

This volume is an attempt to synthesize the understandings we have about reading to learn. Although learning at all ages is discussed in this volume, the main focus is on middle and high school classrooms--critical spaces of learning and thinking.

The amount of knowledge presented in written form is increasing, and the information we get from texts is often conflicting. We are in a knowledge explosion that leaves us reeling and may effectively disenfranchise those who are not keeping up. There has never been a more crucial time for students to understand, learn from, and think critically about the information in various forms of text. Thus, understanding what it means to learn is vital for all educators.

Learning from text is a complex matter that includes student factors (social, ethnic, and cultural differences, as well as varying motivations, self-perceptions, goals, and needs); instructional and teacher factors; and disciplinary and social factors.

One important goal of the book is to encourage practicing teachers to learn to consider their students in new ways--to see them as being influenced by, and as influencing, not just the classroom but the total fabric of the disciplines they are learning. Equally important, it is intended to foster further research efforts--from local studies of classrooms by teachers to large-scale studies that produce generalizable understandings about learning from text.

This volume--a result of the editor's and contributors' work with the National Reading Research Center--will be of interest to all researchers, graduate students, practicing teachers, and teachers in training who are interested in understanding the issues that are central to improving students' learning from text.

Excerpt

This volume, Learning From Text Across Conceptual Domains, is an attempt to synthesize the understandings we have about reading to learn as a result of our work with the National Reading Research Center. Although we discuss learning at all ages, our main focus is on middle and high school classrooms--critical spaces of learning and thinking. the education of students in these classes, taken as a whole, seems inadequate if our goal is to produce readers and writers who understand, learn from, and think critically about the information in various forms of text. That goal is complicated by the fact that the amount of knowledge presented in written form is increasing, and the information we get from texts is often conflicting. It is also complicated by the fact that students have varying motivations, self-perceptions, goals, and needs that often hinder their accomplishment of our goal that they understand, learn from, and think critically about what they read. in addition, teachers, pulled by various and sometimes conflicting goals, are often hindered by the contexts in which they work. Finally, students have social, ethnic, and cultural differences that mitigate the overall effectiveness of instruction. It is vitally important that we study the instruction that helps students to be critical consumers of texts, the contexts within which that instruction is successful, the texts students read, and the students who are affected by instruction. We hope that the research in this volume increases readers' knowledge as much as it did that of the authors.

This book is written for educators of various ilks. We want it to be read by our researcher colleagues, of course. But we are concerned, as well, that . . .

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