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ERIC Number: ED356883
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
What Knowledge Is of Most Worth? Student Perspectives.
Nicholls, John G.
Researchers generally seek to improve student motivation without input from students concerning subject matter and teaching methods. Yet students make conceptual distinctions among different forms of knowledge, concerns, and contexts regarding knowledge. One distinction is between intellectual conventions (such as spelling) and matters of substance (involving logic). Most students' theories on this matter suggest that motivation suffers when teachers emphasize conventions over substance. However, this distinction hardly captures the complexity of students' conceptions of different forms of knowledge and their concerns about how best to acquire these different forms. One study examined children's conceptions of controversial knowledge and found that elementary school students easily distinguished controversial topics from noncontroversial topics. Students favored tolerance of diversity of positions on controversial matters. In two later studies, low-income African-American students evaluated approaches to controversial and noncontroversial curriculum, and reported that controversial topics had more positive effects on motivation. In the second study, students compared collaborative inquiry about controversial topics and individual memorization of noncontroversial facts. As grade increased, students saw collaborative inquiry as fairer than memorization of noncontroversial facts. Other studies of low-income, urban students showed that variation in context brings changes in concerns for types of knowledge and types of learning. Both teachers and researchers should more carefully consider the issues of students' cognitions, concerns, and contexts. (MM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A