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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The importance of activating student prior knowledge : elementary teachers' spontaneous and cued identifications of key concepts in narrative prose Tonski, Jean


Elementary teachers' spontaneous (unaided) and cued identifications of key concepts in narrative prose were examined. Measures of the influences of exposure to research and attitudes toward the importance of prior knowledge on their cued identifications were investigated. Data were analyzed to determine the degree to which elementary teachers identified cued key concepts and primary teachers' identifications were compared to those of intermediate teachers. Separate and combined measures of teachers' exposure to reading research and attitudes were compared to their cued key concept identifications. A post hoc exploratory content analysis of the spontaneous key concept identifications was undertaken to discover possible patterns or phenomena in the data. Results of the analyses of cued concept identifications indicated: a) teachers were unable to successfully identify key concepts in narrative prose; b) there were no significant differences between primary and intermediate teachers' identifications; and c) exposure to reading research and attitudes towards the importance and use of prior knowledge and concept development influenced teachers' ability to identify key concepts. An examination of spontaneous key concept identifications showed that: a) there was a lack of teacher consensus as to definition of a key concept; and b) teachers were unable to identify passage-relevant key concepts when left to their own resources.

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