The Forrnal Setting as Contextfor Cognitive Activities: An Ernpirical Study of Arithmetic Operations under Conflicting Premisses for Comrnunication
1987 (English)In: European Journal of Psychology of Education, ISSN 0256-2928, E-ISSN 1878-5174, Vol. 2, no 3, 233-245 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The general concern of the present article is to contribute to an understanding of the contextual determination of cognitive activities. More specifically, the focus of the empirical research reported has been to study how pupils define and deal with cognitive tasks in situations that are recognised as pedagogical in character. Within the context of their everyday mathematics teaching, 206 twelve year old primary school pupils were given work sheets containing elementary arithmetic problems. The experimental treatment consisted of introducing (through headings and instructions) pedagogical definitions of problems that were in conflict with the nature of the problems themselves. The results indicate that the predefinitions of cognitive activities typical of educational contexts have a strong impact on the way problems are dealt with. Clear differences could be discerned between groups at different achievement levels in the extent to which the cues present in pedagogical contexts were used in defining the problem. A crucial aspect of what are conventionally conceived as differences in mathematical ability seems, judging from the present results, to have more to do with the capacity to decipher ambiguous communicative situations than with the mastery of a mathematical algorithm per se.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Netherlands, 1987. Vol. 2, no 3, 233-245 p.
Learning; Learning of arithmetic; Cognitive activity; Learning in school; Contextual effects on learning
Educational Sciences Pedagogy
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-110832DOI: 10.1007/BF03172730OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-110832DiVA: diva2:749284