Download ABC: The Alphabetizaton of the Popular Mind by Ivan Illich, Barry Sanders PDF

By Ivan Illich, Barry Sanders

In ABC... thinker and cultural analyst Ivan Illich and medieval student and literary critic Barry Sanders have produced an unique, meticulous and provocative learn of the arrival, unfold and current decline of literacy. They discover he impression of the alphabet on basic proposal strategies and attitudes, on reminiscence, on political groupings and religous and cultural expectancies. Their exam of the current erosion of literacy within the new technological languages of 'newspeak' and 'uniquack' they usually indicate how new attitudes to language are changing our global view our feel of self and of group.

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Other studies (for example, Driver et al,, 1985; Osborne and Freyberg, 1985) revealed that only a very small minority of pupils seemed able to understand some of the most elementary ideas in science by the time they were 16. The work of the Assessment of Performance Unit (APU) in the 1980s raised a number of issues about the nature and assessment of practical skills (Black, 1990). A number of studies (for example, Kelly, 1986) showed that many pupils - particularly girls - were negatively disposed towards school science and science more generally.

All three of the techniques above are not without their problems related to the reliability and validity of pupils' responses. For example, McClelland (1984) suggests that children may not actually have well-formed views about many of the things teachers or 32 Teaching and Learning Science researchers ask them about. Rather, they adopt a strategy of 'instant invention', making up an answer on the spot to avoid an admission of ignorance. A further methodological issue concerns the administration - or the re-administration - of the same probes in longitudinal studies and studies involving pre- and post-tests.

At this time, there was also increasing interest in the work of two different psychologists and what their ideas might mean for science teaching. One of these psychologists was George Kelly, who had developed his influential theory of'personal constructs' in the 1950s (Kelly, 1955). Kelly argued that people make sense of their own environment by developing theories to explain the world as they experience it and then testing these theories against new experiences — they are 'protoscientists* (Kelly, 1971), constantly constructing or reconstructing their theories about the world.

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