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Promoting Effective Task Interpretation as an Important Work Habit: A Key to Successful Teaching and Learning


by Deborah L. Butler & Sylvie C. Cartier — 2004

In this article we argue that to be successful in an academic arena, students must adopt a consistent approach to completing academic work (i.e., a work habit) that includes very carefully interpreting the demands of tasks that are presented to them in schools. To clarify why task interpretation is so critical to student success, and is thus an important instructional objective for teachers, we begin by presenting two vignettes illustrating links between task interpretation and students' successful engagement in academic work. Then, we take a step back to describe what we mean by academic work and engagement and to explain how and why students' knowledge about, conceptions of, and interpretations of tasks are so foundational to performance. We also describe how students' task interpretation breaks down and why such breakdowns often occur. Finally, we close by advancing practical suggestions for teachers regarding how to structure activities, instruction, and evaluation to promote students' adoption of task interpretation as an important work habit in the pursuit of effective learning.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 106 Number 9, 2004, p. 1729-1758
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11668, Date Accessed: 10/19/2017 8:51:28 AM

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