Università degli Studi di Palermo (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 1098-1108
ISBN: 978-84-616-3847-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain
When approaching and solving educational problems, those who are about to start a teaching profession, need to involve strategies in order to appropriately answer problems complexity characterizing educational situations. Metacognitive processes include assessing the requirements of the problem, constructing a solution plan, selecting an appropriate solution strategy, monitoring progress toward the goal, and modifying the solution plan when necessary. In the metacognitive transfer view, successful transfer occurs when the problem solver is able to recognize the requirement of the new problem, select previously learned specific and general skills that apply to the new problem, and monitor their application in solving the new problem. We examine two way to promote specific transfer of general skills: direct instruction in how to solve educational problems; an important methodology entails the elicitation, analysis and inclusion of case-study as a primary form of instructional support while learning to solve problems. The first approach is referred to as teaching of thinking skills. The second approach is referred to analysis of cases drawn from real-world educative contexts in order to help students develop problem solving skill. Learning is supported by conversations and stories about problematic and especially difficult cases.

Cognitive theories of problem solving and suggestions made by cognitive psychologists regarding how to teach problem solving are reviewed. Theories and suggestions from creativity research are also considered. The results are summarized in a description of how high levels of proficiency in problem solving are acquired and how problem solving skills might best be taught, keeping in mind a distinction between well-and ill-structured problems.

In this paper we introduce the results of a two-year research that involved 300 students of the University of Palermo, Primary Education Degree Course. The work has been focused on the students’ ability for approaching their jobs with an understanding and solving attitude towards all practical problems raised in the educational area. The study has been oriented to promote in tomorrow’s teachers the ability for identifying and properly addressing any problem in school situations. The study is also an example of the development of students’ skills, oriented to identify and solve complex educational situations.
Problem finding, problem solving, case study, primary school, complex educational situations.