Teaching by teaching or teaching by doing?

2010 March 23
by Daniel Lakeland

Mark Guzdial at Georgia Tech writes about: How we Teach Introductory Computer Science is Wrong. I think it clearly applies to science, statistics, mathematics, physics and other basic and difficult skills.

The premise is that for introductory level learning (but not more advanced students) having the students learn by solving problems is much less effective than having the students learn by reading a set of worked problems. Basically, without the fundamental foundation of information, doing problems on your own is just frustrating and unproductive. Introductory classes should be about telling students the information they need to get to the intermediate level where they can start doing.

It's a fascinating set of research, and I'm not sure how generally it applies. But unlike many teaching theories, this is at least based on data.

(thanks to my wife for the link).

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