Help writing argumentative essay

If they do less, then the exercise can easily become a meaningless mechanical manipulation, and loses its real educational potential. Naturally, for many teachers the choice of problem-solving tasks is circumscribed by the traditions of their subject, and there is relatively little creative effort involved in designing such tasks. Even when there is, it is more likely to be for the sake of the elegance of the problem, rather than for its educational value. But the design of problems is important because the help writing argumentative essay cognitive activity inherent in a particular problem-solving task determines the way the student will think about the subject matter. A more imaginative problem that challenges the student and invites him to construct new ways of combining information will promote a better understanding. They were practised at defining the laws of supply and demand, but their lack of basic understanding was revealed by their inability to break out of familiar patterns of thinking to answer a very basic but unusual question. If we can establish the characteristics of a good problem-solving task we must then ask how successful it is in practice. This brings us back to the main theme of this book. The aim overall is to clarify the nature of learning from problem-solving which may then enable us to use it more efficiently as a teaching method. Ways of Approaching an Understanding of Problem-Solving Human problem-solving has been a continuing concern of psychologists, and they have developed different ways of investigating it.

In this section, two well-established approaches are introduced, namely Gestalt psychol- ogy and Human Information Processing, while the next section develops a critique of them based on empirical studies using qualitative methods.

There are important differences between these two theoretical analyses of problem-solving. Gestalt psychology describes human cognition in terms of the quality of our perception and thinking, while information processing theory categorizes the mechanism of our perception and thinking. Not surprisingly, therefore, the two types of theory produce very different descriptions of problem-solving. Gestalt Theory and Problem-Solving The essence of Gestalt psychology is to emphasize the structural quality of the way in which we perceive, think about, and feel, the world around us. In order to see something, we focus on some part of it — like a word on a page.

The essence of our perception is that each part exists by virtue of its relation to a whole, and can itself be seen as a whole. They also regard relationships between parts and wholes within that structure as constituting the forces that drive our productive thinking. In going through these examples we can see why the Gestalt theory can be useful in understanding problem-solving. It suggests, for example, that the best way of discovering how to find the area help writing argumentative essay of a parallelogram is not by being taught a rule or algorithm, but by finding the underlying structure of the problem, and thereby solving the problem in a meaningful way. The reasoning process might run as follows: the parallelogram is essentially a rectangle in the middle, plus two extra triangles: Figure 8. They are not rectangles, but by rearranging the diagram they do fit together: Figure 8. Wertheimer (1959) describes this kind of process as follows (my parentheses): When one grasps a problem situation, its structural features and the requirements set up certain strains, stresses, tensions in the thinker. What happens in real thinking is that these strains and stresses (e. Such an account of problem-solving emphasizes the importance of the meaning of the problem for the student. When we draw on Gestalt theory to think about problem-solving, it is inconceivable to think of teaching children to solve problems by some rote method.

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There are two main difficulties in applying Gestalt theory to the kinds of learning and problem-solving that occurs in the classroom. One is that the problems researched are of a particular character — geometric, algebraic, mathematical.

It is not clear how far the theory can help us with different kinds of problems, (e.

Only occasionally shall we refer to the place, role and function of such a best websites for essays process within the personality structure of the subject and within the structure of his social field, (p. Again, in the conclusion, he describes the problem-solving process as:...

Does he just have to find the area of the parallelogram, or does he also have to do it in help writing argumentative essay the way the teacher wants. If so, he may wonder whether or not he could get away with doing it his own way, or even consider the consequences of not doing it at all. Human Information Processing and Problem-Solving The Gestalt account of problem-solving tells us that the structural quality of our perception assists the solution process, and when we fail to solve problems, this amounts to a failure to perceive the structure of the 128 THE EXPERIENCE OF LEARNING problem situation. By contrast, the information processing approach focuses on the mechanism of the problem-solving process.

Information processing looks at the various procedures that people adopt, and integrates these into a more deterministic account of how humans solve problems.

The resulting program represents the theoretical description of problem-solving. In principle, of course, it is not necessary that such a program be written — the theory does not stand or fall by the fact that the computer solves the problem or not, but by whether it is possible to write such a program.

If an information processing account is sufficient to describe human problem-solving, then in principle it should be possible to program a computer to perform the same procedures. The value of the attempted simulation help writing argumentative essay is that it highlights the gaps between theory and practice. This kind help writing argumentative essay of approach is characterized well by the work of Newell and Simon who developed a program called General Problem Solver. Their analysis of protocols revealed what these were and they could be represented in a computer program capable of solving the same problem in a similar way. Failures to solve problems can then be seen as failures either to apply the correct heuristic, or to use one at all. For the problem above, the means-end analysis will tell you that in order to get from the given to the goal, you need to break the problem into individual algebraic sums, and use what you know about the rules of addition, together with the given information, to deduce the various values. The creation of sub-goals then follows, in the form of considering individual columns. The program developed from these steps will then represent the theory that humans use these heuristic procedures in solving such a problem. The general heuristic procedures, such as means-end analysis, creating sub-goals, or working forwards and backwards can be applied to any problem.

Thus the General Problem-Solver uses these heuristics, together with an appropriate representation of the problem, to generate the specific heuristics for that problem, such as those in the above paragraph. This, the theory states, is what a human being will do when confronted with a new problem, i. The value of the theory lies in its description of the heuristic procedures we use in problem solving, because if these can be made explicit for students then there is some possibility that they can be assisted in learning how to solve problems.

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