Learning Process of Elementary School Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

We will include studies concerning memory recall in elementary students.

Androes et al. (2000) asserts that memory recall is essential to reading comprehension in elementary students. The authors insists that reading comprehension is defined as the capacity to understand and recall the details, sequence, and meaning from written material (Androes et al. 2000; Klein 2000). Reading comprehension is a fundamental skill that is one of the critical elements of any primary-level education (Androes et al. (2000). Many researchers have argued that teaching techniques that include the fine arts should be abandoned. However, other research has suggested that the techniques aid in the improvement of memory recall and reading comprehension. In addition, a great deal of research has found a correlation between arts education and academic achievement on every level including reading comprehension (Androes et al. (2000). To further explore this correlation the authors conducted research to examine the impact of drama on memory recall and reading comprehension (Androes et al. (2000).

In some cases the capacity of elementary students to draw inferences about the beliefs, motivations, and feelings of characters in a play. In her research of fifth graders Smolkin (1997), found that elementary students can make meaningful conclusions from the dialogue in a play. The research supported the theory that plays can, and should, be integrated with many other genres for reading instruction. On the other hand, many other researchers have posited that not all reading genres are appropriate for all ages. For instance, Beach (1985) found that older readers, when compared to younger ones, have a greater capacity to make inferences about the elements of a play. Therefore, plays may not be appropriate for young readers.

Androes et al. (2000) contends that the primary focus of reading comprehension is the ability to store and recall facts from the written text. Many researchers have posited that the memory for visual information is stronger than memory for written information. This theory was developed through a study conducted by Shepard (1967) in which participants were presented pictures and then presented pairs of pictures, only one of which had been studied previously. In this study, the participants properly identified 98.5% of the pictures that were previously studied (Shepard 1967). However, when the same process was conducted with sentences and sentence pairs, participants were only able to properly identify 88.2% of the sentences previously studied (Shepard 1967). It was therefore concluded that the imagery-based information is more easily recalled than text-only information (Androes et al. (2000). Therefore, educators have posited that if reading curriculum can be made less dependent on the memorization of text and focus instead on visual images described in the story, then readers are likely to store, preserve, and recall more information concerning what they read (Androes et al. (2000).

In addition, Androes et al. (2000) also asserts that in the world of cognitive psychology research has suggested that people have a greater ability to store meaningful information than they do meaningless information. This is particularly true when propositional representations are used to describe meaningful information about a story, event, or scene.

According to the authors a great deal of research has illustrated that the ability of propositions to represent information in memory (Anderson, 1990; Androes et al. 2000). Such research asserts that reading comprehension is probably defined by the ability to program and recover the foundation of sentences, which are prepositions (Androes et al. 2000). Students are then able to relate the meaning within the sentences to scenes and stories from a text.

The authors contend that in order to apply the finding of this research to reading comprehension the student must be taught to find the meaningful aspects of a story and to appreciate the meaningful relationships between the segments that fashion the entire of the story (Androes et al. 2000). Such an approach is comparable to what actors do to recreate a scene. The individual has to visualize each piece of the story to represent them correctly (Androes et al. 2000).

In addition to the aforementioned factors concerning memory recall Androes et al. (2000) also asserts that memory can be increase through elaborating on the data that needs to be recalled. The authors explain that elaboration concerns a deeper level of meting out information, can positively affect memory. An illustration of this can be found in studies which reiterate that requiring subjects to produce a logical sentence extension onto a sentence, will enhance future memory for that sentence (Stein & Bransford, 1979; Androes et al. 2000).

In addition research has also indicated that memory in reading can be improved by developing a vivid image of the scene expressed in a sentence (Anderson, 1990; Androes et al. 2000). This will provide students with the ability to elaborate on the text they are reading which will probably improve their recall and comprehension of the material (Androes et al. 2000). This is particularly true if it involves vivid visual representations.

Indeed much of the research concerning imagery a memory recall asserts that reading comprehension can be enhanced by aiding students in the following ways:

Develop visual images of what they read (Bell, 1991; Androes et al. 2000),

Divide stories into their simplest meaningful components or propositions (Androes et al. 2000).

Elaborate on what students have read so they can thoroughly process information (Stein & Bransford, 1979; Androes et al. 2000).

The aforementioned characteristics are staples of drama-based instruction as it pertains to reading comprehension (Androes et al. 2000). According to Androes et al. (2000), the dramatization of events concerns itself with the capacity to first visualize the sequence, characters, and the scene, in a story through imagery. Such a process involves dividing a scene into smaller segments or propositions, which involves elaborating beyond the written text (Androes et al. 2000). When drama is professional dramas are properly conducted by professionals, actors are applauded for their ability to understand the emotions and motivations that their characters experience (Androes et al. 2000). Such ability comes from the capacity to elaborate (Androes et al. 2000). With this being understood the empirical and theoretical evidence seems to suggest that drama can improve memory recall and therefore improve reading comprehension (Androes et al. 2000).

In their study Androes et al. (2000) examined Reading Comprehension through Drama (RCD) program designed by Whirlwind. The organization is a Chicago-based nonprofit arts education organization that uses drama techniques that is consistent with the aforementioned research on imagery and memory recall (Androes et al. 2000). The authors report that in collaboration with Whirlwind, 3-D Group researchers employed an indiscriminate control-group that was designed to examine the affect of the program on the reading comprehension of fourth-grade students (Androes et al. 2000). Whirlwind presented the opportunity to participate in the RCD program to four school principals who had previously worked with Whirlwind (Androes et al. 2000). Each of the principals were interested in the program and were accepted to participate with the understanding that one of their fourth-grade teachers would be assigned to the control group and one would be assigned to the experimental group (Androes et al. 2000).

Whirlwind requested the participation of all fourth-grade teachers in each of the four schools. All of the fourth grade teachers agreed to participate in the program.

The experiment designates the schools as a, B, C and D.

School a in the Northeast side of Chicago and almost 100% of the 1200 students were Hispanic (Androes et al. 2000). Nearly 99% of the students lived in poverty and a quarter of the students were not proficient in English. School B. was on the South side of Chicago and had 1,000 students (Androes et al. 2000). Ninety percent of the students at this school were African-American and the remaining 10% was Caucasian (Androes et al. 2000). At school B. 80% of the students came from poverty-level households

School C. was also located on the south side of the city and had about 700 African-American students, almost all of whom (90%) came from poverty-level families. School D. was located on the northwest side of the city, and about 90% of its students came from poverty-level households (Androes et al. 2000). More than 50% of school's 650 students were Hispanic, and 30% were Caucasian. The remaining students were Asian and African-American (Androes et al. 2000).

From the pool of all teachers in each school, we randomly selected one experimental classroom and one control classroom (Androes et al. 2000). The final study consisted of 94 students in the experimental group who participated in the RCD program. The control group was composed of 85 students who did not participate in the program (Androes et al. 2000). For School a, there were 21 students in the experimental group and 22 students in the control group. For school B, there were 24 students in the experimental group and 28 students in the control group (Androes et al. 2000). For School C, there were 24…

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