ERIC Number: ED373028
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Nov
Differentiating Whole-theme and Common Paradigms of Instruction.
Cochran, H. Keith
Many educators assume that learning occurs best when a student assembles a body of knowledge one piece at a time. With this approach, the teacher allocates to the student a proportioned number of pieces during each class period and the student's job is to work toward making the pieces form some intelligible and meaningful whole. The whole-theme model is an alternative to this approach. Thematic instruction begins by presenting an entire domain from the beginning of instruction instead of building and assembling a body of knowledge piece by piece. The teacher expands the theme through each successive class until students conceptualize the domain in its detailed complexity. Because the theme is always present in the mind of the learner, it facilitates understanding of how and where specific pieces fit into the whole and provides a vehicle for spontaneous learning and reorganization to occur. A case example illustrates a thematic context which led to the spontaneous exploration of contemporary issues relating to intelligence. Empirical evidence indicates that students demonstrate a greater capacity for higher order thinking if they are taught by a whole-theme approach rather than in a piecemeal fashion. (Contains 15 references.) (Author/LL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, November 10-12, 1993).