A Problem With Problem Solving: Teaching Thinking Without Teaching Knowledge

Jamin Carson

Abstract


Problem solving theory and practice suggest that thinking is more important to solving problems than knowledge and that it is possible to teach thinking in situations where little or no knowledge of the problem is needed. Such an assumption has led problem solving advocates to champion content-less heuristics as the primary element of problem solving while relegating the knowledge base and the application of concepts or transfer to secondary status. In the following theoretical analysis, it will be argued that the knowledge base and transfer of knowledge—not the content-less heuristic—are the most essential elements of problem solving.

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