Cognitive Process Instruction: Research on Teaching Thinking Skills

By Jack Lochhead; John Clement | Go to book overview

fying what difficulties might be present, and all teachers value this ability. Plugging into the already existing network of teaching professionals also facilitates the personal discussions so crucial to any sort of progress; without it, one runs a very real risk of unproductive isolation.

In summary, the instructional approach is close to what teachers are (or think they should be) doing. It offers many advantages for most teachers, and as such is unlikely to generate much resistance in the academic community beyond the resistance to pedagogical issues in general.


CONCLUSION

This attempt to discuss methodology has helped to make clear the reasons underlying my preferences. Nevertheless, it is very important to leave our collective options open. I don't believe any approach offers such clear advantages that alternative approaches should not be pursued. At this stage, insightful tolerance of different approaches is absolutely necessary. It means acknowledging the difficulties of one's own approach and dealing with them as best as one can, and trying to understand and learn about other points of view.

We should be constantly aware that any framework (deterministic or descriptive) imposes limitations on the kinds of phenomena which can be modeled, and we should be willing to borrow effective tips and techniques from anyone. An old saying says that if the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to treat everything as though it were a nail. If we use our entire tool chest, it should be interesting to see what we build in future years.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Many people have helped me greatly, mostly by tearing this paper apart and forcing greater clarity and precision on me. These wonderful souls include Andy Adler, Andy DiSessa and Joe Weizenbaum of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, John Clement and Jack Lochhead of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Dan Dennett of Tufts University, and Dana Roberts of Wellesley College. Of course, any remaining inadequacies are mine alone.


REFERENCES

Arons, A. "Cultivating the Capacity for Formal Reasoning: Objectives and Procedures in an Introductory Physical Science Course." American Journal of Physics, 44( 9), p 834, 1976.

Bhaskar, R. and Simon, H. "Problem Solving in Semantically Rich Domains: An Example from Engineering Thermodynamics." Cognitive Science, 1, p 193, 1977.

Bloom, B. and Broder, L. Problem Solving Processes of College Students. University of Chicago, 1950.

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