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Writing about Reading to Advance Thinking: A Study in Situated Cognitive Development

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Chapter Summary

Looking at the role of genres in cognitive development, evidence of increased cognitive sophistication are found when students in their writing engage the meanings they find in texts in relation to problems and experiences they are attempting to work through. The codes are developed to characterize cognitive statements made in assigned writing, electronic forums, and class discussions. Evidence of increasing sophistication in the use of citations over the year and several writing tasks investigated are seen. Following on these clues, additional codes are developed to characterize the nature of the citations and surrounding discussion, which then correlated with author's cognitive codes. This evidence has led to the conclusion that reference to concepts from readings indeed supported more sophisticated expressed thought. Further, over time and with familiarity of domain, referenced ideas from reading were expressed in a more focused way, were more integrated into students' thoughts, and were discussed more extensively.

Keywords: assigned writing; class discussions; cognitive codes; cognitive development; cognitive sophistication; electronic forums; reading; referenced ideas



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