Pedagogy of the Oppressed: The Publication Process of Paulo Freire’s Seminal Work
James D. Kirylo
Southeastern Louisiana University
Despite the benefits of historical thinking pedagogy, many teachers continue to require students to read textbooks. Contained within textbook narratives are particular types of implied causation, asyndetic constructions, which may limit students’ abilities to fully comprehend certain textbook passages. This study examines how asyndetic constructions influence students’ comprehension of causal events. Twelve middle school readers were asked to read a US History textbook passage and answer questions related to the asyndetic construction. They also were asked to reason about their answers. Findings suggest that good middle school readers do not identify asyndetic constructions as problematic to their comprehension even though they often incorrectly answer questions related to these constructions. Findings also indicate that, when middle school readers recognize the asyndetic sentences as causally related, they often disregard and/or overlook the mental processes in the text that provide clues for explaining that relationship. Based on these findings, teachers need to recognize the complexity of textbook language and structure when assigning such readings, taking special care with poor readers who have fewer linguistic resources for making meaning of asyndetic constructions than good readers.