dB-SERC lunch discussion
Topic: Using dual-process theories to engage with student reasoning
When: Thursday, Nov 7 from 12 - 1 pm
Where: 321 Allen Hall
Who: Dr. Beth Lindsey (Penn State Greater Allegheny)

For more than 30 years, research-based and research-validated instructional materials developed by the Physics Education Research community have helped improve student conceptual understanding of introductory physics. An emerging body of research, however, has shown that, even after research-based instruction, students who demonstrate correct conceptual understanding and reasoning on one task often fail to use the same knowledge and skills on related tasks. Observed inconsistencies can be accounted for by dual-process theories of reasoning, which assert that human cognition relies on two thinking processes. The first, the heuristic process, is fast, intuitive, and automatic, while the second, the analytic process, is slow, effortful, and deliberate. Inconsistencies may arise when students “abandon” formal reasoning in favor of ideas that are more intuitively appealing in the moment. In this talk, I will demonstrate how dual-process theories can be applied to the analysis of student reasoning in physics. I will also discuss new methodologies that have been developed to help disentangle student conceptual understanding from their reasoning skills. I will share samples of newly-developed tasks and student data from these tasks, and discuss implications for instruction.
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