ERIC Number: ED369124
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Nov
Textbooks as Canon: The Relationship between Introductory Textbooks and Scholarly Discourse.
Gibson, Stephanie B.
Using a sample issue of the "Journal of Communication" as a point of comparison, a study examined the content of 10 introductory textbooks for the field of communication. Results indicated that textbooks scarcely ever acknowledge methodological pluralism, and when they do, they simply cite it as an existing factor in the field of communication and subsequently ignore it. The method and paradigm that drives the textbook itself is rarely acknowledged. Also, textbooks reduce scholarship to a few primary axioms, decontextualized, trivialized and simplified. To the student, these axioms seem to spring into being fully formed since the research and scholarly activity behind them are not conveyed. Textbook pedagogy seems to work from the assumption that students are empty when they come to the discipline and it is the job of the classroom--teacher and textbook--to fill this vacuum. But the truth is that students learn material in a more valuable and integrated way when they are permitted to discover connections for themselves. Finally, textbooks seem to represent the canon of communication studies, the pith of what scholars in this field can agree on. If this is the case, however, then: (1) What do they say about the discipline of communication and about the scholars and theorists in that field? (2) Do they encourage readers to be critical thinkers? (3) Do they offer historical, social and political and other types of background as context for what they discuss? or (4) Do they arrive with a hidden agenda? (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (79th, Miami Beach, FL, November 18-21, 1993).