ERIC Number: EJ790114
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May
Reference Count: 36
Adler, Jonathan E.
Educational Theory, v58 n2 p149-173 May 2008
Surprise is of great value for learning, especially in cases where deep-seated preconceptions and assumptions are upset by vivid demonstrations. In this essay, Jonathan Adler explores the ways in which surprise positively affects us and serves as a valuable tool for motivating learning. Adler considers how students' attention is aroused and focused self-critically when their subject matter-related expectations are not borne out. These "surprises" point students toward discoveries about gaps or weaknesses or false assumptions within their subject matter understanding; as a result, students become internally motivated to correct their errors and to seek better understanding, rather than merely responding to external mandates imposed by a teacher, institution, or other authority. In this essay Adler argues persuasively that the use of surprise in teaching, both as a pedagogical tool and a topic of study, offers many educational advantages and benefits for learning.
Descriptors: Learning Motivation, Student Motivation, Misconceptions, Teaching Methods, Error Correction, Comprehension
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
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