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Title:The role of reading and writing in the acquisition of knowledge: A study of college students' self-directed engagements in reading and writing to learn
Author(s):McGinley, William James
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pearson, P. David
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Reading
Abstract:The thinking and learning that resulted from college students' self-directed engagements in various combinations of reading and writing were studied from several theoretical perspectives: a composing model of reading and writing; the view of writing as a way of thinking and learning; studies of the influence of reading and writing upon thinking critically; recent theories of knowledge acquisition in complex content domains; and a "critical" perspective on language and literacy learning.
Seven college undergraduates were permitted to direct their own sequence of specific reading and writing engagements enroute to learning and composing a persuasive essay. During their reading and writing students engaged in a think-aloud procedure which required that they verbalize their thoughts as they worked. After students had completed their essay, they responded to a series of written debriefing questions about the reading and writing they did.
Results indicated that the reasoning in which students engaged, and how it changed as students directed their own reading and writing enroute to learning, is a complex phenomenon mediated by both specific reading and writing engagements and the purposes for which these engagements were undertaken. Across students, various forms of reading and writing proved to be very versatile activities, each providing students with the means to fulfill a number of different purposes. Results of the debriefing interviews in conjunction with the protocols and essays of three of the seven students revealed that an individual learner was capable of creating, through his or her own recursive exchanges, a kind of vicarious, collaborative community of readers and writers exchanging different topical perspectives with one another as they moved back and forth between writing notes, reading articles, writing their essay, reading the essay, and reading their notes. An implication for research is that if we wish to more fully understand the combinatorial power of reading and writing upon learning and thinking critically, we must continue to examine students as they direct their own reading and writing engagements as it is relevant to their particular needs. In terms of instruction, this study suggests that if we want to foster students' ability to inform themselves about topics of study, we must explore ways of helping them to begin directing their own reading and writing activities in order to learn.
Issue Date:1989
Rights Information:Copyright 1989 McGinley, William James
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI8924896
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI8924896

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