Cognitive Process Instruction: Research on Teaching Thinking Skills

By Jack Lochhead; John Clement | Go to book overview

Teaching For Cognitive Development

Robert P. Bauman, Thomas Wdowiak, and Irene Loomis

It is no secret among physics instructors that most students have difficulty with many concepts of elementary physics. One popular way of attacking this problem is to apply Piaget's model of cognitive development. But Piaget worked with children from ages one through 15, so a skeptical teacher of high school juniors and seniors or of college students must surely question whether Piaget's model really applies to high school and college teaching.

Statistics show that typically 50 to 75 percent of college freshmen are not able to cope with the kinds of problems associated with the formal operational stage. Important concepts of an introductory physics course require mental operations on abstract quantities, ratio and proportion, and an awareness of one's own thought processes. The correspondence of answers given by many college students to the answers recounted by Piaget in his interviews with children reveals a striking similarity between the thought processes of the younger students classified as concrete operational, and the physically mature students enrolled in college courses.

The more important question to be asked however is: If the Piagetian model and the numerical results of current testing programs are correct, or even partially correct, what implications does this have for our classrooms? Can we do anything to effectively move students from concrete operational or transitional stages toward formal operational thinking, so that they may understand what we and our colleagues are attempting to teach?

We believe we have found one effective means of stimulating cognitive development in college students. We have heard of other programs that also offer encouragement. Following a description of our current efforts, some of the properties of these programs will be examined in an attempt to see which elements may be important for success.

Our efforts have been directed toward the specific question of whether students can be changed, and we have therefore chosen to separate this process from our conventional physics courses. More specifically, we have devoted a one-quarter, three semester-hour course entitled Mathematical Preparation for Physics to teaching logical thinking, using mathematics as the primary medium of instruction. This course, labeled PH 10, has a typical enrollment of 50 to 60 students per quarter, most of whom plan to take a physics course but who could not pass a rather simple screening examination.

Subsequently, we have also turned attention to the marginal students who would not normally take a physics course at all, but who are in need of learning logical thought processes to survive in college. We first taught a small group of

-267-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Cognitive Process Instruction: Research on Teaching Thinking Skills
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 348

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.