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IDEAL Problem Solver by Bransford & Stein: Teaching Thinking and Problem Solving

Val's Notes

Bransford, John D.; And Others TITLE Teaching Thinking and Problem Solving. Technical Report Series 85.1.2.


ED 262 755 IR 011 833

AUTHOR Bransford, John D.; And Others

TITLE Teaching Thinking and Problem Solving. Technical Report Series 85.1.2.

INSTITUTION George Peabody Coll. for Teachers, Nashville, TN. Learning Technology Center.

PUB DATE [84] NOTE 37p. PUB TYPE Information Analyses (070) -- Viewpoints (120)

EDRS PRICE MF01/PCO2 Plus Postage.

DESCRIPTORS *Cognitive Processes; *Critical Thinking; Evaluative Thinking; *Learning Strategies; *Problem Solving; Program Evaluation; Teaching Methods

ABSTRACT This discussion of some of the research literature that is relevant to the issue of teaching thinking provides descriptions of hypothetical, ideal thinkers, and problem solvers; considers the problem of teaching thinking and problem solving; and explores the issue of evaluating programs so that they can be revised and improved. Following Bransford and Stein's "The IDEAL Problem Solver" (1984), this discussion elaborates upon five components of thinking that are applicable to a wide variety of situations. These include the ability to:

(1)identify problems,

(2) define and represent them with precision,

(3) explore possible strategies,

(4) act on these strategies, and

(5) look at their effects.


Creativity is introduced as a means of re-defining a problem in such a way as to suggest simpler and more workable strategies, and examples of cognitive solutions to problems are explained. Also included are descriptions of ways to enhance the teaching of thinking and problem solving through the use of educational strategies and the development of conceptual tools. The concluding section contains suggestions for implementing evaluation techniques for thinking skills programs, and the summary emphasizes the importance of student use of various tools for thinking and problem solving so that these can be evaluated and defined. (JB)

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