ERIC Number: ED381784
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Beliefs about Textbooks: Implications for Writing Instruction.
Beliefs about texts and textbooks is an active area of inquiry in social psychology but the results of these studies are largely unknown in the fields of English education and composition. For most students knowledge and beliefs function very similarly. What a student knows he or she inevitably believes; and what he or she believes means a commitment in ways that exclude more current information, more authoritative sources, or more persuasive logic. Students use their initial beliefs (or knowledge) as a filter to reinforce what they already know rather than examine and possibly rethink positions. Further, most students consider it a sign of strong character to ignore information that is contradictory to their beliefs and to resist doubts about their current knowledge of the world. Finally, studies show that contrary to popular belief, students actually believe very little of what they read in textbooks. Textbooks are most likely to be effective when the material presented is neither too similar nor too contradictory to students' current knowledge; it should be clear and comprehensible and not too conceptually difficult. Research in the field of composition has for years pointed towards the advantages of student-centered writing instruction, and it is significant to note that research in social psychology corroborates these findings. (Contains 20 references.) (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Knowledge Acquisition
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (46th, Washington, DC, March 23-25, 1995).