chapter  6
41 Pages


Teaching and Learning Across the Content Areas
ByJeannie Oakes, Martin Lipton, Lauren Anderson, Jamy Stillman

This chapter focuses on classroom instruction and deals with a bit of history of how teaching has changed and how it has not changed. It discusses theories of children's learning, introduces key principles of "authentic" instruction, and reviews some related instructional approaches. The chapter explains what it means to teach from sociocultural and constructivist perspectives. Contemporary sociocultural and cultural historical theorists assert that social and cultural contexts determine learning and that mental processes are, in and of themselves, both social and cultural. By situating student learning in the context of meaningful, authentic tasks, teachers support students to construct new knowledge. Drawing heavily from cross-cultural studies of learning, sociocultural theories fuse learning, intelligence, and culture into a single, complex entity. In traditional classrooms, one of the most common ways of addressing differences is to compare students. When such comparisons take place, learning and succeeding can become very public.