War & Peace - Spring 2017
Discussion question


Background

    The questionnaire item "Guidance in solving problems / not enough practice questions" received the third highest score (3.8 out of 5), and in the open ended questions more practice problems was easily the most common suggestion. I'd like to explore this item a little further, in its relationship to quantitative reasoning in general.

Question

    Whilst they certainly have their uses, practice problems teach how to solve a particular problem by reinforcing the solution through repetition. For students in the course discipline (in our case physics) that might well be very important. However, in a GE class few students will ever address these problems directly once class is over. The main objective now becomes to develop the skills and confidence to approach a wide range of problems involving numbers, and in that respect practice problems might even be counter productive, in that they focus narrowly on a particular issue without addressing quantitative reasoning skills.

    Any comments?

Response

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