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Abstract Title: Reflective Problem Solving Skills are Essential for Learning, but It is not My Job to Teach Them
Abstract: Students in introductory physics courses are expected to learn physics content through the process of solving problems.  In an interview study with six university physics faculty, we have identified an important conflict in the way that they view problem solving in the context of an introductory course.  Three important findings will be described in this poster: 1) physics instructors believe that student learning in a physics course primarily occurs when students generalize and refine their physics knowledge by reflectively solving physics problems; 2) physics instructors realize that most students do not possess the skills necessary to engage in reflective problem solving when they enter an introductory physics course; and 3) physics instructors do not expect and do not intervene to make students improve their reflective problem solving skills during the introductory physics course.  Suggestions will be made for how to help instructors resolve the conflict represented on one hand by their (correct) assessment that students do not have the skills necessary to engage in the primary learning activity of the course and on the other hand by their pessimistic estimation of students' ability to improve in these very skills.
Abstract Type: Targeted Poster
Targeted Session: Developing Learning Skills in the Physics Classroom to Attend to Diverse Populations

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Charles Henderson
Western Michigan University
and Co-Presenter(s)
Edit Yerushalmi and Elisheva Cohen, Weizmann Institute,
Vince Kuo, Ken Heller and Pat Heller, University of Minnesota