ERIC Number: ED281139
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
The Use of Author Roles in Improving Textbooks and Learning. Technical Report No. 365.
All language use, including written school language, is rhetorical and communicative, and both composing and reading textbooks are rhetorical situations that include interactions and transactions. One issue concerning text characteristics is whether the diverse parts that authors play influence how students learn from their books and respond to the text. Throughout history the roles considered appropriate for authors have changed and converged, and views of authorship also vary from one discipline to another. If a continuum were developed for instructional texts, at one end would be unauthored textbooks produced by publishers, editors, and educators--authorities in the field--that contain canonical knowledge and beliefs, while at the other end would be single-authored textbooks in which the author takes a point of view. Textbook authors and publishers and curriculum designers must be concerned with style as well as content if they wish to present students with accessible, effective texts. Since 1930 most textbooks have been written in the same mode, "textbookese"--an emotionless writing style with the author flattened out by use of the third person, "objective" point of view. If learning is to improve, (1) authors must write natural texts, (2) authors must become storytellers for content-area textbooks, (3) curriculum designers must plan for multiple texts on a single topic, and (4) textbooks must have real authors rather than committees of developers. (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana. Center for the Study of Reading.; Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc., Cambridge, MA.