Cognitive Process Instruction: Research on Teaching Thinking Skills

By Jack Lochhead; John Clement | Go to book overview

fifth grade boy: "American teacher, may I ask two questions? I also want to give my opinion on these problems. One: in what grade do American pupils solve these problems? Two: how long does it take them to solve these problems? My opinion: these problems are good. They are detailed and clear and easy to understand. They help us develop our intelligence. They are very interesting."

fourth grade girl. "These two problems are related. These two problems are not difficult. I can work them out if I set my brain to work."

These comments are similar to the remarks reported by Karplus and Karplus, ( 1978).


DISCUSSION

The high fraction of Chinese students using ratios is remarkable, especially in view of their age, even though the sample is not necessarily representative. The percentages are close to those of the English eighth-grade students in Direct Grant schools, who were selected from the top five percent of the population. Unfortunately, the short time available for the investigation in Shanghai did not permit a detailed examination of the students' teaching materials. Visits to secondary schools in other communities, however, revealed that seventh graders (about 14 years of age) in an agricultural area were studying simple trigonometry, a subject that requires a good understanding of ratios. In their physics classes, seventh and eighth graders in a city school worked on the mathematical treatment of hydraulic presses and other machines, whose mechanical advantage also illustrates proportionality.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I am indebted to Robert Cremer for translating the task into Chinese. Chin Han-feng of Shanghai Teachers University made the necessary arrangements to secure the cooperation of the Chinese students and their teachers. I am very grateful for their cordial friendship and hospitality, which made this pilot study possible. The travel in China was arranged under the auspices of the California State Board of Education, to which I am indebted for the opportunity to make the visit to the People's Republic.


REFERENCES

Karplus, R. "Formal Thought and Education--A Modest Proposal." Presented at the Eighth Annual Symposium of the Jean Piaget Society, Philadelphia, May 1978.

Karplus, R. and Karplus, B. "Comment on Karplus, Karplus, Formisano, and Paulsen, 'A Survey of Proportional Reasoning and Control of Variables in Seven Countries.'" Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 15( 5), 1978.

Karplus, R., Karplus, E., Formisano, M., and Paulsen, A. C. "A Survey of Proportional Reasoning and Control of Variables in Seven Countries." Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 14( 5), pp 411-417, 1977.

Karplus, R., Karplus, E., Formisano, M., and Paulsen, A. C. "Proportional Reasoning and Control of Variables in Seven Countries." This volume.

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