I ran into this Developer’s problem solving sequence list via twitter yesterday.
My students seem to use something similar. Although they leave out reading the fine manual and for the most part StackOverflow. It probably looks something like:
- Mr. Thompson
I’m really trying to get them to stop always asking me for the answers. That is the easy way out. I’d rather they ask their peers or even search the Internet. I want them to learn how to learn. Of course what I really want them to do first is to think. I’ve even got the sign!
Now not all of them think as the last thing. I have a good number of students who are really good thinkers and problem solvers. Several of them are good at asking peers or doing Internet searches. But for every student who figures it out quickly, looks things up, and asks for a direction rather than a complete answer there is usually a student who starts off with “what do I do?” or “where do I start?” Those are the students who really need a teacher.
Some students are great at learning on their own. Some students are great at paying attentions, learning a concept and understanding how to apply it. I suspect many of those students would do just fine with a MOOC or an online tutorial or even a book. Remember books? But some students need more. Some students really need a human teacher.
Some students get to high school having had everything spelled out for them in nice step by step instructions that tested their ability to follow instructions but to how to problem solve or think critically. They are used to having a problem already broken down into predigested pieces. It’s not their fault.
So I spend some time talking to students about the parts. What are they? How can we break them down to smaller parts? And then, and only then, how do we do it in code? If I can get them there I figure that is success.