ERIC Number: ED211930
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Teacher Awareness of Cognitive Complexities in Social Studies Materials.
Brittain, Mary M.
An 11 page chapter from a sixth grade social studies text was used in a study assessing the complexities of comprehending social studies materials and the sensitivity of prospective and experienced teachers to these complexities. A sentence-by-sentence analysis of the thinking operations required for mastery of the material showed that numerous cognitive operations were required, including literal recognition of stated facts, detection of cause and effect, recognition of relationships between main ideas and details, recognition of statements of opinion, and resistance to emotional appeals. The readability of six samples from the selection, based on the Dale-Chall formula, varied from grades 6.2 to 11, with an average at grade 8. Nineteen undergraduate and 21 graduate students serving as prospective and experienced teachers, respectively, completed a cloze exercise assessing their comprehension of the chapter. The cloze scores ranged from 39% to 70% for the prospective teachers and from 44% to 75% for the experienced teachers. The graduate students showed a clearer understanding of the learning task by being more selective in their labeling of both difficult vocabulary and crucial vocabulary. When constructing questions to measure pupils' comprehension of the material, both groups tended to ask more questions at the literal level. The graduates, however, depended less on detail-type questions and maintained a balance of question types that included comparisons, cause and effect relationships, and making inferences. (RL)
Descriptors: Cognitive Processes, Content Area Reading, Difficulty Level, Elementary School Teachers, Grade 6, Intermediate Grades, Perception, Readability, Reading Comprehension, Reading Research, Social Studies, Teaching Experience, Teaching Skills, Textbook Evaluation, Undergraduate Students, Vocabulary
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the College Reading Association (Louisville, KY, October 29-31, 1981).