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This message from Lucy indicates a need to focus on and understand some =
of the important understanding being developed about mental models.  It =
is important in teaching and coaching efforts to spend the time not just =
determining whether answers are right or wrong, but what thinking =
process lead to that conclusion.

If a student or employee is given instruction and the information needed =
for problem solving and gets the wrong answer once, it is possible that =
an error occurred.  If the same problems are processed repeatedly with =
wrong conclusions than the programming (if you will allow me) is wrong.  =
It is not that the skills were not learned, rather the learning was =
affected by barriers, past experiences, personal limitations, and =
paradigms which have now stored a "right" way to do these problems which =
produces "wrong" results.  The process needs to be broken down into =
definable steps and an intervention is required at the point where a =
wrong decision or wrong procedure is being done.  Often it is very =
basic.  It could be comprehension or it could be something else.

I recently was working with a team on a project management simulation =
where they were required to interpret a drawing and build a figure out =
of Legos per the drawing.  In their discussions, they drew wrong =
conclusions about what was front and back and what was front and back.  =
As a result, the finished figure was a mirror image of what was expected =
and it failed to be accepted by the customer.  Told to correct the =
figure, the team broke down into its component parts and reassembled it =
the exact same way as the first time.

Saying again it is wrong is not helpful.  The team only insists that =
they turned everything around exactly as you said to.  No learning is or =
can occur.  The "wise" facilitator or coach must help the team go =
through its thinking process step-by-step and correct, examine, =
reinterpret, train, or repattern the team's (or individual's) thinking =
process.

Only in this way can learning occur for this team.  Without it they will =
continue to build projects with the same information in the same wrong =
way under the assumption that they are indeed right.  And from their =
perspective they are.  New projects with similar information will also =
be done incorrectly.  Their paradigm about direction is a handicap to =
their entire learning and acting.  Only when they see front and back and =
left and right differently, they can do this and future projects =
correctly.

David Grander
ALLiance for Leadership & Learning
[log in to unmask]

----------
From:   Lucy MacDonald[SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
Sent:   Wednesday, December 20, 1995 11:38 PM
To:     Multiple recipients of list LRNASST
Subject:        Re: Learning Skills

Annette writes:

"It was jarring for me to realize just how limited their *math* learning
could be because of their limited skills in *reading comprehension*;
how the two skills really cannot be separated, and how a poor reader
is doomed in just about every other area as well."

I have been teaching a Problem Solving and Thinking Skills course. In
building the course, I spoke with the math department, who "only" wanted =
me
to teach the students to read the problems and they would teach the =
math!!!

For those of you who are working with "reading math problems", I highly
recommend both of Wimbey and Lockheed's books: Problem Solving and
Comprehension published by Franklin Press.  The beauty of these texts is =
that
not only do they challenge students to analyze the "text" carefully, but =
they
also write out the complete thought processes. I say "complete", =
however, my
students have had some problems in going between steps, because they =
cannot
make that mental leap!  It is very informative to see where the thinking
process breaks down.

Lucy Tribble MacDonald
Chemeketa Community College
4000 Lancaster Dr NE
Salem, Or. 97305

503/399-5242
503/399-5038 FAX

litlucy @aol.com
[log in to unmask]


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