ERIC Number: ED270327
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986
Problem Solving beyond the Logic of Things. Textual and Contextual Effects on Understanding and Solving Word Problems.
This paper reports research into the linguistic and extra-linguistic or social-cognitive structure of problem presentation contexts. The effects of textual and social syntax were investigated, including the specific structure of the problem text by which situations, processes, actions, and number relations are implicitly or explicitly expressed, questioned, and commented upon. Also investigated was the nature of the pragmatic and social psychological context (case studies). The paper outlines and discusses an interrelated set of studies showing that: (1) subject matter related to, or factual attitudes toward a problem frequently don't play an important part in problem solving; (2) students often solve problems correctly without understanding them; (3) directionality and goals of problem solving processes strongly interact with textual and contextual cues; and (4) false contextual expectations can lead to abstruse errors of understanding and strange solution paths. The results are discussed as an analysis of social-cognitive behavior, in which the classroom is described as a format, a social-cognitive matrix, and a metacognitive matrix. Issues raised include questions about students' epistemic control behavior, and the personality of the problem solver. References, figures, and tables are appended. (Author/JM)
Descriptors: Context Clues, Critical Reading, Deduction, Educational Sociology, Inferences, Language Patterns, Language Styles, Linguistic Performance, Mathematics Education, Problem Solving, Science Education, Secondary Education, Secondary School Mathematics, Secondary School Science, Social Psychology, Word Problems (Mathematics)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (70th, San Francisco, CA, April l6-20, l986).