This study explored the active process of comprehending as it occurred in individuals as compared with a group, given a similar task involving carefully controlled and sequenced instructional material, Twelve student teachers, six as individuals and six as a group, were given the task of thinking aloud during the process of trying to discover the principles employed by I.A. Richards and Christine Gibson in their design of materials for beginning reading. The number and occasions of discovery were tabulated and compared. The utterances were then analysed and compared employing I.A. Richards' schema for comprehending. There were significant differences found between the comprehending of individuals and the group. Individuals tended to make discoveries by using various language strategies. Patterns of comprehending developed and then became fixated. The individuals tended not to recognize the successes they had made. In the group context comprehending developed over time. As the trials proceeded, the group returned to earlier successes and "errors" and amplified its discoveries; helping various members to make additional discoveries and validating those that members had made, The findings were related to studies in teaching., teacher education, group process and curriculum design. Present research literature indicates a concern for multi??iant, wholistic, contextual and process oriented studies in education. The "intelligencing" and "conceptualizing" powers of the person; the "evidencing" and "convincing" powers of instructional design; the "facilitating" and "validating" powers of social interaction have been suggested by this study as dimensions of the nexus condition for comprehending. Teachers who take responsibility for seeing that learning is brought about should take into account the nexus conditions as they operate in any learning situation.
Thesis (M.A.) - Faculty of Education - Simon Fraser University
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Thesis advisor: MacKinnon, A.R.
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