Proposal Title

Problem Solving in a Thinking Classroom

Presentation Type

Regular Presentation

Location

OM 3741

Start Date

19-2-2018 10:35 AM

End Date

19-2-2018 11:15 AM

Proposal Abstract

Among the TRU graduate attributes are “Critical thinking, analysis, [and] problem solving”. However, how does one actually teach critical thinking or problem solving? It seems natural that problem solving would be a key activity in a mathematics classroom. In fact, mathematics courses are required in many programs for both specific skills but also for these general problem solving skills, yet finding strategies to get students to actively engage in problem solving turns out to beremarkably vexing. Professor Peter Liljedahl of Simon Fraser University has pursued the question of how to build a “Thinking Classroom” over the past decade. In his own words, “a series of failed experiences in promoting problem solving in the classroom led first to the notion of a thinking classroom”. Two key strategies he has studied are the use of non-permanent vertical surfaces and visible random grouping. In his work he has observed some remarkable behavioural changes. “Groups that worked on vertical whiteboards demonstrated more thinking classroom behaviour – persistence, discussion, participation, and knowledge mobility”, and “students became agreeable to work in any group they were placed in; there was an elimination of social barriers within the classroom; mobility of knowledge between students increased”. In this session, the presenters will share their own experiences using these strategies in the mathematics classroom and beyond. Of particular note, consistent with our own observations, is an increase in engagement and inclusive atmosphere predicted by Liljedahl. This session will be hands-on, providing attendees with the opportunity to learn about and engage with a problem-solving task through this particular strategy. We will be speaking to potential uses outside of the mathematics classrooms and encourage participants to bring their own problem solving skills.

Statement

The strategy of group problem solving has been shown to breakdown barriers between students and increase knowledge transfer. This removal of barriers results in a more inclusive classroom.

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Feb 19th, 10:35 AM Feb 19th, 11:15 AM

Problem Solving in a Thinking Classroom

OM 3741

Among the TRU graduate attributes are “Critical thinking, analysis, [and] problem solving”. However, how does one actually teach critical thinking or problem solving? It seems natural that problem solving would be a key activity in a mathematics classroom. In fact, mathematics courses are required in many programs for both specific skills but also for these general problem solving skills, yet finding strategies to get students to actively engage in problem solving turns out to beremarkably vexing. Professor Peter Liljedahl of Simon Fraser University has pursued the question of how to build a “Thinking Classroom” over the past decade. In his own words, “a series of failed experiences in promoting problem solving in the classroom led first to the notion of a thinking classroom”. Two key strategies he has studied are the use of non-permanent vertical surfaces and visible random grouping. In his work he has observed some remarkable behavioural changes. “Groups that worked on vertical whiteboards demonstrated more thinking classroom behaviour – persistence, discussion, participation, and knowledge mobility”, and “students became agreeable to work in any group they were placed in; there was an elimination of social barriers within the classroom; mobility of knowledge between students increased”. In this session, the presenters will share their own experiences using these strategies in the mathematics classroom and beyond. Of particular note, consistent with our own observations, is an increase in engagement and inclusive atmosphere predicted by Liljedahl. This session will be hands-on, providing attendees with the opportunity to learn about and engage with a problem-solving task through this particular strategy. We will be speaking to potential uses outside of the mathematics classrooms and encourage participants to bring their own problem solving skills.