Title

Individual Interest As Context In Expository Text And Mathematical Word Problems

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-1-2002

Published In

Learning And Instruction

Abstract

The profiles and performance of three 11-year-old students are detailed as the basis for discussing the practical implications of inserting contexts of well-developed and less-developed individual interest into expository text and mathematical word problems. First, the theoretical framework informing the study of individual interest is overviewed — where individual interest refers to the relatively enduring predisposition of a person to re-engage particular classes of objects, events, or ideas, and includes two inter-related components: stored knowledge and stored value. Following this, the cases of three students who vary in both ability and individual interest for working in the domains of reading and mathematics are described. Discussion centers on the potential of well-developed interest to provide students with a scaffold for working with assigned tasks. Inserted contexts for which students have a well-developed interest appear to enable students to focus on meaning in tasks and provide a basis for focusing students on task demands. These contexts can also mask difficulties or feel more difficult to students than passages or problems with contexts for which they have less-developed interest. The implications and importance of teacher support as students work with contexts of well-developed individual interest are described.

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