Problem Solving, Scaffolding and Learning

Friday, May 25, 2012 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Reiss 502
Shih-Yin Lin
University of Pittsburgh

Helping students to construct robust understanding of physics concepts and develop good problem solving skills is a central goal in many physics classrooms. In order to achieve this goal, it is important to be able to effectively identify the difficulties students have and employ strategies from both the learner’s and the instructor’s perspectives to assist students in effective learning. In this talk, I will describe a study which investigates graduate teaching assistants’ beliefs about how to design example problem solutions. The teaching assistants’ actual practices were compared to their self-reported beliefs and compared further with the recommendations from research literature. One of the goals of this study is to inform professional development providers to help them better support TAs to become more successful teachers. In addition, I will summarize my other studies, which have implications for improving the classroom practices from other perspectives.