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József Kontra: Problem and Problem Solving

There is no teaching-learning process without problems. Thinking poses problems and attempts to solve them. The main goal of problem solving teaching is developing the student's problem sensibility and problem solving skill. Consequently for efficient pedagogical application we must know quite properly the problem's concept and characteristics, so the possible problem-categories in addition to the features of problem solving process. This is how it can happen that the problem solving techniques or teaching methods are often misused in the school practice. There exist a lot of misunderstandings and erroneous opinions about problem solving among school teachers, too. Altogether, they might have an imperfect theoretical knowledge considering the great advances during the last few years. This gives grounds for making the teachers in Hungarian schools acquainted with the finding nowadays generally accepted in this field and the contemporary approaches to the issue of problem solving, which are presumably unknown to them. Being out for recent information we endeavoured in the first place to draw from the comparatively fresh foreign, mainly English written publications. In this article we examine largely the followings: (1) What can be qualified as a problem? How can the problems be classified? Because of the relevant literature in abundance we choose examples from the field of mathematics and physics. (2) In what manner can the problems be fitted into the teaching-learning process? (3) What are the characteristics of the problem solving process? In this review we have no intention of providing a detailed analysis. Other aspects of the problem solving teaching can also be studied. We are not discussing the methodological and organizational questions of the subject. We undertake only to emphasize that the students must have practice or routine of dealing with problems of different kinds. Therefore the selection of problem-groups is an important issue in the problem solving teaching practice. Furthermore in order to acquire consciously the problem solving techniques it is absolutely necessary to have a range of information about psychological issues as well.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 96. Number 4. 341-366. (1996)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Kontra József, Munkácsy Mihály Gimná¬zi¬um, H–7401 Kaposvár, Pf. 142.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia