ERIC Number: ED307931
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-May
Reference Count: 0
Whole Teaching: Performative Acts in Good Faith.
This paper discusses ways in which the innate act of "telling" can be used in teaching to strengthen the bond between teacher and student and enrich the process of learning. The paper offers an intuitive rationale for using "telling" as a teaching mode in the community college classroom and provides a formal explanation of "telling" based on the work of theorists in the fields of cognitive science and speech-act theory. Among these theorists are the Russian meta-linguist, M. M. Bakhtin; Jurgen Habermas, the founder of "universal pragmatics"; and Dan Sperber, who developed the general "relevance" theory of communication which suggests that, for communication to occur, the speaker must "make manifest" his/her intention to effect "a change in the listener's cognitive environment" and that this show of intention ("ostension") is a precondition for meaningful exchange. After discussing the relationship between "ostension" and "telling," the paper provides examples of performative teaching that took place in classrooms at Northampton Community College (Pennsylvania) between 1986 and 1988. Dialogues between students and teachers in speech/theater, economics, English literature, composition, and social science classrooms are used to illustrate acts of disclosure, active listening, restatement, and teaching within the context of interrogating learners. Concluding comments indicate that all acts of "telling" share the intention of reaching understanding and that from this common ground they diverge according to the demands of course content and mutual cognitive environments. (JMC)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Princeton Univ., NJ. Mid-Career Fellowship Program.