ERIC Number: ED375827
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
The Impact of Student Thinking Journals and Generic Problem Solving Software on Problem Solving Performance.
Sullivan, Gary E.
This study examined the effects of specially designed thinking journal activities that have been attributed with encouraging reflective thinking, on instruction using generic, or content-free, problem solving software. Sixty-three fourth grade students participated in four instructional sessions using the software package called "Moptown Hotel." Students completed separate posttests that measure (1) performance on problems of the same kind as those used in instruction, and (2) the transfer of skills to other kinds of problems. Scores of students who wrote thinking journals prior to testing were compared with scores of students who did not. Results indicated that students who wrote thinking journals performed the same as students who did not when tested on problems similar to those practiced in class. Tests in which students transferred their skills to word problems, however, produced significant differences: those who wrote thinking journals scored higher on tests of problem solving transfer than those who did not. The study also examined the relationship between the degree of metacognitive thought displayed in students' journal entries and their measured problem solving ability. Results indicate that students who had higher average reflectivity scores also had higher average problem solving performance and transfer scores. It was concluded that under the right conditions and for the right kinds of problems, thinking journal writing can help students understand their own thinking processes, resulting in improved problem solving behavior. (Contains 79 references.) (Author/JLB)
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 (New Orleans, LA, April 4, 1994).