I have been putting more hours in for this critical thi nki ng prose that I try to wri te than when I was i n 089. Patterns and Implications In designing the questionnaires, I incorporated eight factors that I hoped would be indicators of the degree of change in the learning behaviors of students. All of the students shared the common back- ground of having been in low track classes in high school where the goals, expectations, and behaviors were the same as those underpinning banking educa- tion. But this fact did not predict that all would con- tinue to operate out of this model. Those that made the transformation from passive to active learning like Vicki and Joanne or Stacey who was attempting the change did so not because they acquired concepts to characterize their prior education but because they were willing to alter both attitudes and behaviors and to invest the time that the new behaviors demanded. Reading, writing, talking, and collaborative plan- ning behaviors all changed. In reading this meant altering reading strategies from the passive behaviors of underlining and highlighting to interactive strate- gies that included transforming the text, strategies like summarizing, notctaking, and answering questions in their reader which gave focus to their reading. It also meant abandoning well practiced and rewarded schema like the f ive-pai agraph essay and learning to use the rhetorical components of the planning black- board to determine the shape of the paper. Another reason stu- dents gave for not discussing was that they were not good thinkers.
Both the educational histories and responses to the query on talk in their homes underscored that most of the students had little or no practice in or models for the kind of exploratory talk needed for both the class- room discussions and the collaborative planning ses- sions.
Seven of the eleven described home environ- ments where there was either no one to share ideas with or where to do so was to risk hostile behavior. Wanda, a black woman from a low income neighbor- hood who spent her summers cleaning houses to earn her fall tuition, said. For students like Wanda to take the risk to break silence, it took not only courage but as those who moved from silence to talking in class wrote in response to why they decided to ask questions and voice ideas, they had to feel that they could trust their peers and that they would not be humiliated for a wrong answer.
Their comments acknowledged that they learned to accept criticism of their thinking if it came in the form of questions to help clarify or to point to other evidence, but what they were frightened of was what they had experienced in prior classes, an attack on their intelli- gence. Most difficult to discuss for at least half of the class were issues they labeled "controversial. Qass discussions revealed that most students had little or no historical paraphrasing dictionary background on issues of race, class or gender, had no experience in exannining the origins of their beliefs, and had difficulty listening to or accepting evidence that challenged their beliefs. At least half the class shared the Morton Downey model — that you could not talk about such issues without people screaming at one another, a view reinforced by the television shows they watched. It is a model that docs not encourage the risk taking of trying to relate ideas or to challenge ideas, behaviors needed in good collaborative planning sessions.
Generally missing was discussion of audience, purpose, or text conventions. Those students like Vicki and Joanne who linked those conceptf. In contrast for students like Xim and Dale, authority always remained with the teacher and they tried to produce papers "that the teacher would like. I saw the psychological implications of the belief acted out in the behaviors of Dale and Kim who, even in an environment where change was being encouraged and supported, where strategies to affect the change were being demonstrated, continued to employ learning behaviors (a kind of functional fixity) that prevented learning in the new environment.
Although I was operationally functioning on the belief that mine was a problem-solving pedagogy, these students, in con- structing a conflicting environment from their past training, drew their behaviors from that environment and transformed collaborative planning sessions to fit their representation of the classroom. Aside from the security of the known and the fear and risk inherent in changq, time, I think, was a paraphrasing dictionary critical variable affecting whether students would employ new strategies. Those students who gave evidence of trans- forming learning styles began to employ strategies that demanded more time in reading and writing Generally, they paraphrasing dictionary estimated that they doubled the time they were spending on assignments which meant that they had to makeadjustmentsinotherpartsof their lives.
These students seemed to operate out of a sense that investing time in this class to learn what they recognized that they did not know how to do would pay off in the long run because as Joanne pu t it, "it will gqt easier.
As I indicated in the beginning of this essay, the concepts of rigidity and adaptability which motivated this inquiry I came to see as surface behaviors that were rooted in the interrelationship of all of the factors I have described operating in the students. The PTA president who knows that you have been reading about the American education system urges you to let the parents know that your suggestions are coming 120 from researchers as well as your own analysis of your secondary education. This essay will be printed in the PTA newsletter that will be mailed to parents of all of the students in the high school as well as the teachers, administrators, do my coursework for me and school board members.