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ERIC Number: ED406670
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Pages: 32
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
The Psychologizing of Language Arts Instruction: Teachers' and Students' Beliefs about What It Means to Care.
Graham, Laura; Pajares, Frank
Two studies illustrate the concern that the connection between teachers' beliefs and their instructional practices can be a troublesome one if beliefs are informed by formalist thinking related to truth and caring in the teaching conversation. Subjects, 21 middle school language arts teachers and 216 eighth-grade students were asked what they thought would constitute appropriate responses to a middle school student's request for feedback about his poem. In spite of their training and experience, the instructional strategies of the teachers were guided by formalist beliefs about what they believed to be sound pedagogy. As a consequence, they minimized the importance of what the student actually said in the poem. Truth was sacrificed in favor of caring, which was often interpreted as helping the child to feel good about his work and about himself independent of the work's merits. Honest criticism and instruction were minimized. In contrast, students themselves called out for honesty and for academic instruction and interpreted caring as receiving academic help. Few expressed formalist principles, and most argued that their teachers need not surrender truth, criticism, or instruction to express care and concern. They also revealed that they could and would see through their teachers efforts at impression management. Findings, interpreted within frameworks provided by S. Cavell's (1969) criteria for reciprocal conversation and J. Habermas' (1979) conception of the ideal speech act, suggest that caring for students should be inextricably conjoined with truth in the teaching conversation. (Contains 44 references.) (Author/TB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A