Problem-Solving (Chapter 8 – Part I)

Effective problem-solvers engage in the following steps…

1. Identify the problem (awareness of the problem and the ability to define the problem concretely)

Possible difficulties to engage in this step?

i. ‘Not in the habit’

ii. Lack background knowledge (affects awareness – e.g. Math problems)

iii. Do not spend TIME to reflect

Required disposition?

i. Open-minded (not affected by first impression – react vs. respond)

ii. Engage in exploratory activities

iii.llow problem and solution to evolve (consider it an ongoing process)

iv. Divergent thinking  

2. Re-presenting the problem (helps in analyzing the problem)

› Abstraction

›  Visualization (graph, picture, story, etc.) 

› Ability to think across events, experiences, and knowledge domains

› Goal state = “what you want to accomplish once the problem is solved?”

3. Selecting an appropriate strategy

1. trial-and-error = no strategic plan whatsoever

2. means-ends analysis = sequence of steps identified, implemented, and evaluated individually

a. formulate a goal state

b. break down the problem into smaller sub-problems

c. evaluate the success of one’s performance at each step before proceeding to the next

4. Implement the strategy

› success at this stage depends on success at stages 1-3

› strategy shifting = change strategies more often

› strengthened by previous experiences dealing with problem resolution

› quick solution vs. solution-after-analysis & understanding of the problem

5. Evaluating solutions

› of product and then process

› opportunity to IMPROVE and do better in the future

› usefulness and applicability of a particular strategy checked

Chapter 7: Beliefs about Intelligence and Knowledge

Belief about intelligence and knowledge affects academic performance of learners (thinking and learning)

Two types of intelligence:

1. Fixed (entity theory)

2. Changeable (incremental theory)

The type of belief learners hold about intelligence – (1) or (2) – give rise to the following learning goals:

Those who believe that intelligence is fixed – hold and cherish PERFORMANCE GOALS = strong desire to demonstrate one’s performance and to achieve normatively (for name sake) high success in a domain (show off?)


1. Surface/superficial learning

2. Less persistent

3. Less apt to use learning strategies

4. attribute failure to ability and teacher

5. May develop learned helplessness (defense against perceived incompetence – “anything I do will fail…so why try?”)

6. Engage in external locus of control

Those who believe that intelligence is changeable – hold and cherish LEARNING GOALS = strong desire to improve one’s performance and achieve mastery in a domain; also called mastery goals (doing something for my own sake…for the sake of learning and improving as a person)


1. More persistent

2. More likely to use learning strategies

3. Attribute their success to strategy use and effort

4. “I can improve if I polish my ways of studying and put in more effort”

5. Engage in internal locus of control


› How would you define knowledge?

› What is the origin of knowledge?

› It’s nature?

› What are some of the characteristics of knowledge?

How you perceive ‘knowledge’ affects the way you think and learn!Those who hold the following beliefs about knowledge engage in more sophisticated forms of thinking:

1. Knowledge is complex

2. Knowledge is relative

3. Learning is incremental (change in quantity and quality)

4. Ability to learn is not innately determined (Q: any real life example for this?)

Developmental Sequence that individuals pass through on their way to mature reasoning about ‘knowledge’:

1. Dualist stage – right or wrong, quick learning, absolute, universally certain, accessible only to authorities, look for fact-oriented info, remember info becomes important

2. Relativist stage – uncertain and relative, knowledge must e evaluated on a personal basis by using the best available evidence, look for context-oriented info, construction of meaning, gradual learning, tentative and subject to personal interpretation (Bruce Lee!)

Performance differences between the two orientations do exist…!!!

Classroom Management: Preventive Measures

1. Anticipate and prepare for moments of conflict in the classroom (mentally, spiritually, and physically). Ineffective classroom managers are those who take chances by not anticipating and preparing ahead of time for possible clashes (between themselves and students and among students). Effective classroom managers on the other hand, are vigilant and constantly looking for signs of conflicts and work fast toward resolving the same.

2. Establish relationship with students. “Teach students…and not the curriculum.” When teaching-learning experiences are meaningful, managing behavior becomes relatively easy. Students who are engaged in classroom learning won’t have the time to mess around, for the fear of missing all the fun inherent in the teaching-learning processes.

3. Let students know that the class is a team…a cohesive unit. This is reflected in the teacher’s attitude, expectations, teaching styles, evaluation procedure, etc. Everything that a teacher does in the classroom matters. It’s important that both teachers and students learn to share mutual respect for each other. This is only possible if the teacher assumes and plays the role of a facilitator rather than that of a leader (who knows everything and wants to dominate in all decision-making). Students should be allowed to be a part of the decision-making process in the classroom. By doing this, you allow them to become responsible individuals. They become personally interested in upholding the rules and regulations in the classroom because they identify with them.

4. Don’t be judgmental. Allow for mistakes in answer (when it comes studies) and behavior. If the world was a perfect place, we could expect our kids in the classroom to perfect too. But the world isn’t a perfect place and we don’t have to conceal this truth from them by reacting differently in the classroom (compared to real life settings). Students honor teachers who work with them on a personal level and would do anything to show their gratefulness toward these teachers in behavior and academic performance. Students hate teachers who conceal things from them, especially when something is so obviously clear in their eyes.

5. Don’t take students’ complaints for granted. When students complain about something, it’s better to investigate the issue and establish its ‘truthfulness’ than to prematurely dismiss it as unfounded. When teachers do this, they know that their teachers are sincerely interested in the students well-being (positively related to their performance).

Chapter 6: Belief about Self


What are some of the factors that contribute toward the success of students at school?

What are some of the factors that contribute toward the failure of students at school?

Which one of these factors do you think is the most common (for both success and failure)?

Which one do you think is the most difficult to deal with (for failure)?

Chapter Outline

  1. Social cognitive theory (relationship between self-confidence and learning)
  2. Attribution theory (how students explain their academic success and failure to themselves)
  3. Student control and autonomy (how students’ and teachers’ expectations create a controlling or autonomy-producing environment in the classroom)

Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura)


What is self-confidence? What is it not?

Where does it come from?

How can it be improved?

Bandura’s ‘reciprocal determinism’ states that learning is the result of an interaction among the following variables:

click on this link for the diagram…

reciprocal determinism diagram.doc


(Self-efficacy judgment & outcome expectancy)

Beliefs and attitudes that affect learning

Environment (Teacher, parent, and peer feedback) – role of significant others

Behavioral (performance) – responses one makes in a given situation – Effort? Luck?

Before I engage in anything, I…

  1. Need to have self-belief that I will be able to do it, (“I can do it”)
  2. Know that I will experience something NICE as a result of that behavior (“It’s worth doing it”)

Give examples for the above mentioned assertion.

Self-efficacy = the degree to which an individual possesses confidence in his/her ability to achieve a goal

Outcome expectancy = the perceived relationship between performing a task successfully and receiving a specific outcome as a consequence of that performance

E.g. I am a good driver, with superb driving abilities. Nevertheless, I am still exposed to chances of accidents because people (in this particular area) like to drink and drive recklessly.

How does this affect my thoughts toward my abilities in driving? How does this affect my actual driving skills?

Two types of learning

  1. Enactive learning = learning by doing
  2. Vicarious learning = learning from a model

The more I do something successfully, the more I do it with great confidence!

Learning (in general) is affected by:

  1. Developmental status of the learner
  2. Prestige of the model
  3. One’s ability to set an attainable goal (specific, attainable, of moderate difficulty)
  4. any other factors you want to suggest???


Illustration: Story of the drunken father with two sons – One son determined never to become like his father. The other one used his father as an excuse to follow in his footsteps – same environment but different self-belief and attitudes

Self-efficacy is DOMAIN SPECIFIC

Linked strongly with behavioral outcomes (expectancy) and environmental cues (feedback)

Positively affects performance and vice versa

Indirectly affects future learning by predisposing students to engage in challenging tasks and to persist longer despite initial failures

Differ along three dimensions:

  1. Task difficulty
  2. Generality (domain specificity)
  3. Strength of one’s efficacy judgment (weak vs. strong perceptions)

Students with higher efficacy will be more inclined to persist and to maintain self-confidence!

Dependent also on:

  1. Successful performance (initial ones esp.)
  2. Model is judged to be similar in ability (teacher vs. peer)
  3. Verbal persuasion
  4. One’s psychological state


  1. What does it mean to have control (or be in control) in the classroom while learning?
  2. What are the characteristics of caring teachers, who would enhance students’ learning to the maximum?
  3. Why do you think that “the number of years teachers spend in the classroom negatively affect their efficacy?”

Definitions of self constructs

Self-esteem: Self-esteem refers to general feelings of self-worth or self-value.

Self-efficacy: Self-efficacy is belief in one’s capacity to succeed at tasks. General self-efficacy is belief in one’s general capacity to handle tasks. Specific self-efficacy refers to beliefs about one’s ability to perform specific tasks (e.g., driving, public speaking, studying, etc.)

Self-confidence: Self-confidence refers to belief in one’s personal worth and likelihood of succeeding. Self-confidence is a combination of self-esteem and general self-efficacy.

Self-concept: Self-concept is the nature and organization of beliefs about one’s self. Self-concept is theorized to be multi-dimensional. For example, people have separate beliefs about physical, emotional, social, etc. aspects of themselves.

Chapter 5 (Part II)

Chapter 5: Retrieval Processes (Summary)

Encoding Specificity Principle (ESP)

Memory is enhanced when information available at encoding is also available at retrieval

Context – affects both encoding and retrieval

Context effects

1. Environment – same place!

2. State-dependent – drug states

3. Mood-dependent – mood states

Good memory is a result of a GOOD LINK…!

Memory Cues / Retrieval Cues – enhance memory (sights and sounds, moods, psychological conditions, etc.)

“All forgetting is due not to the actual loss of memories, but our inability to retrieve them”

Recall = retrieving without any hints or cues (free recall and cued recall)


Recognition = examine a list and identifying what one has learned before

Q: How do you prepare for a Multiple Choice quiz?

How do you prepare for an Essay quiz?

Which one is easier to study for and take?

Generation Effect = “verbal material self-generated at the time of encoding is better remembered than material that one merely reads at encoding”

Elaborative Interrogation = asking ‘why?‘ enhances encoding and retrieval

Memory Reconstruction = retrieval is not just a straightforward reading out of memory – rather than remembering the entirety of a memory event, only KEY ELEMENTS of an episode are stored, guided by schemata – you usually retrieve some key elements and reconstruct the rest (e.g. what happened in the church last Sabbath?). For this, we rely on…

Gist of experience

General knowledge

Flashbulb Memory = memory of highly specific events (e.g. where were you at the time when the WTC were attacked? What were you doing?)