Custom essay writing canada
If this conclusion is valid, the major learning problem in this instance is that a surface approach seems to imply that the text is not decoded on the premisses on which it was written, and the reader, ih his or her role as learner, does not seem to be directed towards reconstructing its messages. In the present case the privilege of deciding what is brought into focus in the dialogue between text and LEARNING FROM READING 87 86 the experience of learning reader lies with the text (and its author) and the commitment or responsibility to determine what is being meant lies with the reader. Once writers have encoded their message, it leaves custom essay writing canada their charge: reconstructing what is made known is at the discretion of their readers. This means that even in cases where messages are interpreted as running counter to what the readers themselves happen to know or assume, the reader must — in one way or another — provisionally accept the line of reasoning followed by the author while they are reading. At a general level, this seems to be a significant part of the problem which Suzy, Sean and Stan have in reading this kind of text.
In fact, they act as if they lack what we might call a cognitive category corresponding to a conception of a phenomenon.
This of course does not mean that they did not have any preconceived ideas about the phenomenon of learning prior to the reading of this particular text. What it does mean is that they do not custom essay writing canada see it as the purpose of the general situation they are in to confront their preconceived assumptions with the ideas presented custom essay writing canada by the author. Concluding Comments To recapitulate, it follows from what has been said that the distinction between a deep and surface approach is not meaningful in all contexts. If the distinction is to be useful in analysing how people learn, the learning material should have the same general character as that used in the studies presented in this and in previous chapters, i. Should the learning material be of a different kind, (listing, for example, German prepositions which take the accusative case), this distinction might not be at all applicable or enlightening. Learning of this latter kind has very much the character of acquisition of information, and mastery of the task is probably to a large extent a function of the time and energy one devotes to memorizing. The pedagogical problems in such situations are obviously different from those dealt with here. Instead the question of what approach a person uses when learning through reading becomes critical when we deal with texts which have a message character. In such instances our research indicates that a surface approach is associated with decisive difficulties in understanding. A discourse of the kind used in the present study is thus not a list of unambiguous and fixed statements about the world. From a communication perspective, the text is an invitation to attend to some more or less familiar aspects of reality within a framework that may not be part of our everyday thinking with respect to this class of phenomena. A conclusion of our examination of learning approaches would thus be the somewhat paradoxical statement that to quite a large extent it is the intention to learn from the text which leads people to misunderstand it.
Were this to be a problem characteristic of their reading in general, it could be interpreted as a severe dysfunction.
It is our assumption, however, that the crucial process of decoding a text on the premisses on which it was written, is the natural mode of acting in everyday reading situations. There are many factors which might be seen as reinforcing this way of learning: overloaded curricula, forms of assessment requiring the more or less verbatim recall of facts and even the design of text books, which can present knowledge in such a neatly parcelled way that there is scope for little beyond mere memorizing.
Nevertheless, to suggest that schools may encourage a surface approach is not to level an accusation, for the conception of learning endorsed in schools is modelled on what this concept is commonly assumed to refer to in society at large.
Without going too deeply into this fascinating topic, the dominance of a factual view of knowledge among teachers and learners can be seen as a consequence of its domination of the larger cultural context of Western everyday thinking, where there is a strong tradition of construing knowledge in absolutistic terms.
Nor should we be surprised that students have difficulties when this definition of knowledge is challenged (cf. But can the conclusion be drawn that a deep approach is more efficient than a surface one? We hope the reader has been able to conclude that this is not necessarily the case given a long tradition in education of what characterizes pedagogic situations. In higher education, however, the demands of learning are in many cases of a different kind, since students have to work much more independently and have to deal with a substantially larger volume of written material. In custom essay writing canada that setting, a surface approach can be detrimental.
The problems students encounter in reading are thus not merely — as is commonly assumed — efficiency problems, a question of speeding up teaching and learning in a one-dimensional process of fact-gathering.
A dynamic conception of knowledge, a commitment to seeing reality from custom essay writing canada new and previously unfamiliar perspectives, is thus built into the scientific enterprise itself. Though this is self-evident to the trained academic, it may appear as strange and unfamiliar to the student. Coming to terms with it causes pedagogical problems which are bound up with changes in conceptions of reality and the expansion of intellectual repertoires.
This is the process of abstraction and detachment from the world close at hand which writing per se has made possible, and which confronts us today with pedagogical problems in our attempts to convey its insights to coming generations.