Learning Strategies to Develop Problem Solving and Reasoning Skills
Joanne K. Robbins, Ph.D. (Morningside Academy)
Joanne Robbins is the principal of Morningside Academy in Seattle, WA, and a co-founder and executive director of Partnerships for Educational Excellence (PEER ) International. She has more than 30 years of experience in program development, curriculum design, and teaching and supervision of programs for children and youth. Dr. Robbins’ experience has been in both educational and mental health settings. She developed programs for pre-kindergarten through the college level. She is the author of Talk Aloud Problem Solving: A Script for Teachers, and co-author of Fluent Thinking Skills: A Generative Approach. She is currently co-chairperson of the Seattle Public Schools Superintendent’s Positive Climate and Discipline Advisory Committee. Dr. Robbins completed her Ph.D. in educational psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago under the mentorship of Dr. Sue Markle, Dr. Phil Tiemann, and Dr. Herbert Walberg.
Abstract: B. F. Skinner (1968) defined problem solving as a two-stage process, first is “the situation for which a response has not previously been reinforced,” and the second as the process of solution, that is, “the behavior which brings about the change is the problem solving and the response to it is the solution.” Stated otherwise, the behavior that solves the problem is absent and the problem solver must find a way to produce it. That process can, at times, be described as reasoning. Reasoning involves what Skinner called the inspection or reinforcement contingencies such that behavior can be described that meets contingency requirements without direct contingency shaping or rules (Robbins, 2011). Such a process involves those activities “where the speaker generates stimuli to supplement other behavior already in his repertoire” (Skinner, 1968). This session will have participants identify the problem to solve, ask the “right question,” classify examples and nonexamples of the critical attributes of the performance of an expert reasoner and problem solver, and examine resources that lend themselves to peer tutoring or self-instructional repertoires required of classroom and everyday activities.
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