ERIC Number: ED213013
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Another Journey through the Looking-Glass: New Lenses for Old Problems (Or, Sometimes the Long Way Around Is the Only Way to Get There.)
Mayher, John S.
One of the prevalent misconceptions that severely limits the possibilities of curriculum change in schools is the belief that theory has no direct relevance to pedagogical problems and that what is really needed are practical ideas for classroom instruction. Serious curriculum change requires an explicit dependence upon improved applications of relevant theories. If teachers cannot learn to apply new theories deliberately, no change at all is likely to happen in the classroom. For example, rather than teach vocabulary directly, the crucial pedagogical implication of current theory is that words are learned indirectly in the context of a rich environment of active language use when they are needed for some other purpose; the challenge is to find teaching activities that indirectly promote vocabulary development. Or, to teach literature using current theory, the teacher should help students enrich and extend their capacities to make meaning out of texts, recognizing the personal validity of the meaning that each student has derived from the text. Theories of language have emphasized that structure is used to express meaning, that meaning-making is the driving force for mastering structures, and that the most significant occasions for language development are those where language is a means rather than the end of learning. These theories suggest very limited possibilities for the direct as opposed to the indirect method of teaching language skills. (HOD)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Theory Practice Relationship
Note: Paper presented at the Combined meeting of the Arizona English Teachers Association and the Pacific Coast Regional Conference on English in the Two-Year College (Phoenix, AZ, November 6-7, 1981). Best copy available.