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Teaching Adolescents

Teaching Adolescents: Educational Psychology as a Science of Signs

  • Book Info
    Teaching Adolescents
    Book Description:

    Grounded in the semiotic thought of Charles Sanders Peirce, America's greatest polymath, Howard A. Smith's Teaching Adolescents addresses topics in educational psychology from a semiotic or sign-based perspective rather than a behavioural one.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8564-2
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-2)
  5. 1 Semiotics of Schooling and Teaching
    (pp. 3-28)

    This book brings a semiotic point of view to teaching in secondary schools and to understanding adolescents. This perspective emphasizes the signs that are inherent in any given situation as well as the interpretations and actions that result from attending to those signs. In everyday life we all respond constantly to the unceasing presence of signs; that said, teachers have a professional responsibility not only to respond to signs but also to actively and deliberately teach them to others. In the brief case of Mary, we saw how her world as a professional educator was perfused with signs – that is,...

  6. 2 Signs in Communication
    (pp. 29-64)

    In chapter 1, schooling and teaching were interpreted as semiotic endeavours grounded in semiotics, the science of signs. Particular emphasis was placed on the subdiscipline of psychosemiotics, the semiotics of human cognition. This chapter explores an area of psychosemiotics that lies at the very heart of teaching: communication. Indeed, teaching can be equated with communicating, in that one who cannot communicate in any way with others cannot teach. And communication in all of its manifestations is entirely dependent on signs. In the following pages, various signs of communication will be examined for their impact on classroom practice. Although most of...

  7. 3 Signs in Class Management and Discipline
    (pp. 65-103)

    No other issue concerns beginning teachers and most school administrators more than class management and discipline (see, e.g., Weber, 1999). Teachers report that the inability to develop effective classroom management techniques is a primary cause of stress, burnout, and teacher dropout in junior high and secondary school (McQueen, 1992). Among new teachers, classroom management and discipline are the number one concerns (Veenman, 1984). According to administrators, classroom management and discipline problems are the main causes of lost instructional time in high schools (Evertson & Harris, 1992). Although the matter is sometimes blown out of proportion, the management of people and...

  8. 4 Signs in Adolescent Development
    (pp. 104-143)

    The opening chapter introduced semiotics as the science of signs, applied semiotics as a subdiscipline, and psychosemiotics as a subcategory of the latter. In chapters 2 and 3 we saw how the study of signs can be applied in understanding the central topics of classroom communication and management. In this chapter our attention shifts to characteristics of the learners themselves, with attention paid to various signs of adolescent development. These signs focus on who and what adolescents are; this will pave the way for the subsequent chapters on learning, instruction, exceptionality, and social issues. Accordingly, this chapter will outline some...

  9. 5 Signs of Learning
    (pp. 144-181)

    This chapter focuses on learning, a matter usually seen as the essence of education and the primary if not sole reason for formal schooling. Human learning is complex and puzzling – complex in that many factors somehow combine to advance our knowledge and understanding of a given topic, and puzzling in that we rarely know for sure the extent to which we or (especially) others have learned something. A central claim of the present chapter is that in this situation of having so little access to what someone else has learned, all we ever have to work with are diverse signs...

  10. 6 Teaching as a Semiotic Venture
    (pp. 182-224)

    In chapter 5, we examined the conceptual bases of learning and their major representational forms. This chapter will focus on classroom applications as well as the implications of adopting particular stances about the nature of learning, and of attending to relevant signs. Several topics viewed as central to teaching will be considered in this light: notions of multiple literacies and intelligence(s); transmediation, or representation of the ‘same’ content in different forms; problem solving and logical inference; surprise and experience in education; motivation; emotion; and memory. Finally, some general principles of teaching will be presented. Throughout the chapter, the key message...

  11. 7 Signs of Exceptionality
    (pp. 225-264)

    Because we are all different from one another, we could argue with some justification that we are all exceptional in one way or another. However, in educational circles, exceptionality has been understood to include only those children who are different enough to fall outside the norm in some medical or culturally determined characteristic or ability. Hence, if exceptional means more different than average, the next two logical questions are these: On what grounds are these differences established? And who determines those grounds? Or – more germane to the semiotic perspective – what are the signs of exceptionality, and who decides on those...

  12. 8 Signs in Culture
    (pp. 265-301)

    This chapter addresses at least several of the prevailing sociocultural concerns that affect today’s adolescents and that have significant effects on their functioning – and ability to function – in formal school settings. Two basic assumptions underlie this chapter. The first is that the primary aim of education (which is more than just formal schooling) is to promote competence in the various signways, especially those in which individuals show particular promise (see chapter 5). The promotion of individual competence incorporates ideas of semiosis (or learning) and development that lead to the increasing ability of adolescents to understand and interact with their surrounding...

  13. 9 Signs of the Expert Teacher
    (pp. 302-334)

    In this chapter our focus shifts from teaching adolescents to teachers of adolescents. A number of issues introduced in chapter 1 will be revisited. However, instead of being directed towards all members of society in general, and especially towards adolescents, these issues will focus on the secondary school teacher. We shall begin with theory and with the characteristics of the expert teacher and then move on to the characteristics of cooperative learning, mastery learning, homework, and the parent-teacher interview that distinguish the effective from the not so effective teacher. The topics after that are teacher self-appraisal and self-reflection during the...

  14. Glossary
    (pp. 335-344)
  15. References
    (pp. 345-378)
  16. Name Index
    (pp. 379-388)
  17. Subject Index
    (pp. 389-392)