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ERIC Number: ED396329
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Pages: 24
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Constructivist Views of Language in Professional Education.
Howell, Charles
A study explored the implications of a rhetorical approach to professional education in business--specifically, how a social constructivist view of language might change how students learn concepts and theories of business. It focused on undergraduate education in management, with data drawn from a case study of a student in a pilot version of an advanced writing course which introduced some basic rhetorical concepts to be applied to undergraduate majors and areas of professional study. Data sources include instructional materials, reading materials the student selected, multiple drafts of the papers submitted, written comments by the instructor and by an outside reader, and written reflections by the student. In the first assignment students read samples of professional discourse and wrote analytical papers discussing coherence. The second assignment asked students to undertake original investigations of a person, situation, or event that would serve to test or illustrate a theory in their major--for the student in question, "participative management." The expert reader proposed several changes in wording in the student's paper, wording which qualified the unambiguous conception of management theory. The view of language as a transparent medium strongly shapes students' educational experience, leading them to unwarranted confidence in the theories they are taught. These misconceptions can be confronted head on by introducing explicitly rhetorical perspectives on language in professional education. Findings generally support the claim that linguistic assumptions influence students' understanding of theories and have a significant impact on their professional acculturation. (Contains notes and 11 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Rhetorical Stance; Social Constructivism
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, April 8-12, 1996).