To learn how to solve "all sorts of new problems" one has to start with basic problem solving techniques that are generalizable to a variety of different situations. What the ed school gurus were advising was what happened in Catherine's school as she described. Giving students problems for which they did not have the prior knowledge or skills to solve them.
If you throw a kid who doesn't know how to swim and/or is afraid of water in the deep end of a swimming pool with the instruction that he/she is to swim to the other side, one result is the kid may drown. The other result is the kid may do a combination of thrashings to keep himself afloat and somehow make it to the other side. If you asked the kid how he did it, a likely response may be "I have no idea what I did, but I never want to do that again!"
Friday, July 17, 2009