Teaching Problem Solving in the Sciences
Tips Sheet 15
by Rudolph Prins, Biology
1. You cannot teach problem-solving the way you teach facts.
2. If the student is not actively involved in the problem-solving he/she probably doesn't learn it well. Have students solve problems and more problems and give them consistent feedback.
3. Students might be better problem-solvers than we give them credit for. They might just not believe they can do it themselves. They might be so afraid that they are wrong, that they would rather wait for the "correct" answer. Therefore, have students ventilate ideas in class on a regular basis.
4. Don't accept/reject ideas right away. Evaluate ideas openlyÑsome are dropped, some are kept, some are changed and then dropped or kept. Students should learn that it is okay to have an idea and then discard it.
For more information about this workshop, contact the CTL staff or the following attendee at the workshop: Uta Ziegler.
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