ERIC Number: ED310356
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Discussion, Comprehension, and Knowledge Acquisition in Content Area Classrooms. Technical Report No. 480.
Gallagher, Margaret; Pearson, P. David
A series of studies addressed basic questions about instruction in subject areas such as science and social studies at the elementary level, focusing on group discussion of textbook content and addressing the effects of instruction in terms of students' knowledge acquisition and their independent reading comprehension of new content. Subjects, fourth grade students (144 in all), either read independently (a control condition), or experienced instructional treatment conditions created to distinguish two primary methods of treating text content during class discussion: (1) "discrete" instruction, which isolated brief segments of text for oral reading and subsequent discussion, modeled on conventional practice in elementary classrooms; and (2) "integrative" instruction, which focused on larger content units and was designed to promote students' abilities to relate information within and across sections of text. Students read a series of 12 articles about three insect societies, in a specially prepared booklet over a 12-day period. A series of pretests and posttests was administered (to assess domain-specific factual knowledge, ability to use text as information sources, and approach to learning from texts), as well as daily tests (for understanding of factual information, ability to construct explanations, and application of knowledge in new contexts) and a measure of transfer to independent reading comprehension at the end of the study. Principal findings indicated that instruction significantly enhances both the amount and kind of knowledge students acquire. Further, integrative instruction is more effective than discrete instruction with respect to students' knowledge acquisition and independent reading comprehension of both related and unrelated material. (Six figures and 13 tables of data are included; 64 references are attached.) (Author/SR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana. Center for the Study of Reading.; Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc., Cambridge, MA.