ERIC Number: ED454052
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Apr-13
Reference Count: N/A
The Power and Problems of Viewing Civics Discussion as a Cultural Activity.
Beck, Terence A.
The Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) concluded that teaching is a cultural activity. But do claims about teaching based largely in comparisons of math teachers also apply to teaching in disciplines with less well-defined problems, like civics? What is gained and what is lost when the cultural aspect of teaching becomes the focus? Two cases of teachers who participated in attempting to change the patterns of classroom discussions are compared here to consider these questions. Classroom talk was coded and graphed and then viewed through the lens of speech code theory. Speech code theory seeks to uncover cultural assumptions and beliefs often invisible to group members. Considerable support is found for using culture as a lens for understanding civics discussion. Teachers' cultural assumptions appeared magnified but not changed by the intervention introduced here. However, questions are raised regarding the uniformity of cultural scripts in civics, as opposed to math. Further, an emphasis upon culture minimizes the considerable power of personalized cultural meanings and in our drive to change culture we may ignore the power of change "at the margins" to improve practice when it is well aligned with existing cultural assumptions. (Contains 49 references and 3 figures.) (Author/SAH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study