09 SES 12 B, Analyzing Text Books and other Educational Material
Children’s magazines published in a week’s, fifteen days or a month’s time can be described as booklets including stories, activities, poems and contents which serve for education and recreation of children (Wilkerson, 1967). At first glance, by means of their colorful and lively format, children’s magazines catch children’s attention. Children improve their knowledge base by means of numerous values, rhymes, puzzles, games, secret coded messages, and poems taken part in children’s magazines, either independently or with the aid of an adult. All of these properties make children’s magazines differ from other written sources (Wilkerson, 1967). Children’s magazines have been examined in terms of negative messages given by advertisements exist in children’s magazines (Baxter & Perkins, 2012), representation of older characters (Almerico & Fillmer, 1988) and gender norms (Hata, 2014) or fictional and non-fictional contents (Wilkerson, 1967). Although children undergo some cognitive processes through engagement with the tasks in the magazines, no such study was encountered investigating cognitive demands of the tasks in children’s magazines.
This study aimed to analyze the cognitive levels of the tasks taken part in a monthly children’s magazine published by TUBİTAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) depending on the taxonomy of Marzano and Kendall (2008) in terms of four components of the cognitive system. The tasks (draw the picture of your star cluster, tell what you are seeing in the picture, draw the way of getting the rabbit to the home, etc.) consisted of this study’s unit of analysis. The investigation of cognitive level of the tasks enables us to understand how and to what degree children are directed to think.
A popular children’s magazine, Meraklı Minik, targeting 36-72 months children and published on a monthly basis by TUBİTAK from 2007 to 2016 is the data source for this present study. It is published since 2007 year and has 14.000 subscribers. And approximately 57.000 issues are sold monthly at newsstands. With the institutional subscriptions this number reaches 75.000 (D. Akça, personal communication, May 11, 2016). Within each issue, pictures, short stories, informative texts, interactive activities, and games in the areas of physics, mathematics, biology, geography, art, history, daily life skills are included. Within these contexts, some tasks are provided to children that require cognitive demands including counting objects, matching pictures, finding solutions to a problem etc. Each task demanding some cognitive processes was then examined using the first four levels of a new taxonomy provided by Marzano and Kendall (2008) as a revision of Bloom’s taxonomy. These categories were further subdivided into 16 sub-categories. 14 of these sub-categories were selected on the bases of the categories provided in Marzano and Kendall (2008) framework and 2 were the newly added ones by the researchers. Recognizing and executing together was accepted as a sub category of retrieval as some tasks included both of these sublevels together. For example, the task that requires the children to identify some objects, animals, people etc. at first and then count and order them was categorized under recognize and execute. Analyzing differences besides analyzing errors was considered as a new sub category of analysis. In this sub level, children are expected to identify differences between two pictures, situations, objects etc. instead of identifying errors. Researchers screened all magazines for tasks and analyzed these according to the framework developed. Any discrepancies were discussed and resolved
The investigation of the percentages of 570 tasks falling under the levels and sub-levels of cognitive processing reveals that half of the tasks fell into retrieval level (51.7%). The second level of cognitive processing most appeared in tasks was analysis level (28.6%). This level was followed by knowledge utilization (13.6%). Lastly, the least level of cognitive processing appeared in tasks is comprehension (6.2%). Related to the sub-levels the ones appeared more frequently were: Executing under retrieval; matching under analysis; decision making under knowledge utilization. Findings of this study also indicated that, in the current magazine, there were tasks addressing two new sub-levels named as recognizing and executing under retrieval and analyzing differences under analysis in addition to Marzano and Kendall’s taxonomy.
Almerico, G. M., & Filmer, T. (1988). Portrayal of older characters in children’s magazines. Educational Gerontology, 14, 15–31. Baxter, S., & Perkins, A. (2012). The presence of violent messages in child-oriented magazine advertising: Considerations for Australian advertising guidelines. Marketing Bulletin, 23. Hata, M. (2014). Preschool girls and the media: How magazines describe and depict gender norms. International Journal of Early Childhood, 46(3), 373-389. Marzano, R. J., & Kendall, J. S. (2008). Designing and assessing educational objectives: Applying the new taxonomy. California: Corwin Press. Wilkerson, J. M. (1967). An analytical study of the contents of selected children's magazines (Master’s dissertation). Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia.
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