Students need to be able to learn how to become effective problem solvers. They should be
able to identify problems, evaluate those problems and then decipher a way to transfer their learning
to those problems in a way that will bring about a solution. If a student is able to perform in a problem
solving situation a meaningful learning should then occur because he has constructed an interpretation
of how things work using preexisting structured. This is the theory behind Constructivism.

By creating a personal interpretation of external ideas and experiances, constructivism allows
students the ability to understand how ideas can relate to each other and preexisting knowledge. A
teacher must then recognize the importance of the cognative and social approaches for learning and
teaching so that she may aid the students\' development in constructivist learning. Both approaches are
valuable because one will emphasize the role of cognative processes and the other will emphasize
culture and social interaction in the role of meaningful learning.

One, however, may wonder how to go about enforcing these approaches. One method is
through scaffolding, providing a student with sufficient information to be able to complete a task on his
own or, to present a gradual decrease in the amount of help availible allowing the student the
capacity to work independantly. Situated learning will present the student with a set of learning tasks
placed in realistic contexts. This will include the abilities to use knowledge in a functioning learning
approach and acquiring inert knowledge based on the learning of isolated facts in limited conditions.

Lastly, students should, through the use of multiple perspectives, be able to view problems and ideas.

These ideas presented will then be able to shed light on the nature of problem solving. There are three most common types of problems, the first being well-structured problems. Well-structured problems are ones clearly stated with known solution procedures and evaluation standards; an example being a mathamatical process. Another type of problem are those that are ill-structured; they are stated vaguely, have unclear solution procedures, and vague standards of evalalution. The third type, issue problems, are ill-structured problems that will arrouse srtong feelings in the students. The first step in helping students become adaquate problems solvers is assuring they realize that a problem does exist. Once a problem is identifiedm students should be expected to understand the nature of the problem. The next logical step would then be for those students to compile all relevant information to their problem allowing them to formulate and carry out a solution. Lastly, the students would then be required to evaluate their solutions working out the imperfections, clarifying the results.

Problem solving is a very necessary abilty for a student which will, in a way, garuntee his future abilty to transfer knowledge. The student needs a firm base understanding of the problem solving concepts to induce a positive transfer of his later ideas. He should be able to recognize the need for different problem solving techniques and how to relate and separate theories in his knowledge. The teacher should be able to present the starting grounds to enable her students a method of producing the solutions to their problems.


Snowman, J., & Biehler, R. (2000). Psychology Applied to Teaching (9th edition) Boston, MA: Houghton Miflin Company.