How Students Think: Implications for Learning in Introductory Geoscience Courses
David A. McConnell, David N. Steer, Katharine D. Owens, Catharine C. Knight September 2005 Journal of Geoscience Education v53 n4 p462
This study, published in the Journal of Geoscience Education, discusses the way that students in introductory geology courses think and how this can influence what they learn. Non-major students in introductory geoscience classes exhibit a wide range of intellectual development. Approximately half of these students do not have the skills to understand the abstract scientific concepts traditionally discussed in introductory classes. Many geological concepts will remain unlearned without appropriate activities that build on a foundation of concrete examples. These students can improve their logical thinking skills when they participate in challenging in-class collaborative learning exercises with their more intellectually sophisticated peers. While the exercises themselves are important in promoting the development of higher-order thinking skills, the group interaction also appears to be a significant contributor to the improvement of reasoning.