chapter  16
24 Pages

Educational Psycholinguistics: Defining the Domain

WithAaron S. Carton, Lawrence V. Castiglione

A wide range of strategies, procedures, approaches, or "methods" is available to education. They extend from the explicit inculcation of "facts" or the conduct of highly disciplined drill to relatively unstructured "discovery procedures," "open classrooms," and various forms of self-initiated, self-directed learning. Traditionally, for example, English spelling has been taught by requiring students to recite from memory the letters that comprised the words that appeared in the arbitrarily ordered lists of "spellers." Other approaches grouped words by "families" of spelling patterns and involved students in "word study" or in the analysis of the morphological and etymological composition of words. In the most "open" currently used procedures, children are encouraged to write using whatever spelling seems to them to communicate the words they wish to use while it is anticipated - or fondly hoped - that eventually their spelling will converge upon the accepted norms. (See c. Chomsky, 1975.)

Elsewhere we have characterized a dimension along which educational methods and strategies can be arrayed as ranging from instructive to educative (Carton & Castiglione, 1976). Roughly, instructive educational strategies correspond to those often associated with "traditional" education and are based on the initiatives of teachers who seek to "build into" their students certain knowledge or skills. Eductive strategies might be associated with "progressive" educational philosophies and might be characterized (as the derivation of the term is intended to suggest) as seeking to "lead forth" from the student the development of knowledge and skills. This dimension should be thought of as a continuum rather than as a dichotomy. Attempts to classify the various educational procedures that have ever been used or proposed would result in arraying each procedure at some intermediate point on this continuum.