What are the cognitive skills needed for model-building?
Mylène is describing in the below blog post about how she’s helping her students develop a set of cognitive skills (including a growth mindset) to help them build models. What I found fascinating in her post were the implicit points, obvious to her, about what the students didn’t know. One student said, “I wish someone had told me this a long time ago.” What are the cognitive skills necessary to enable people to build models, or program? Causal thinking is absolutely critical, of course. What else is necessary that we haven’t identified? We need to check if students have those skills, or if we need to teach them explicitly.
Last year I found out in February that my students couldn’t consistently distinguish between a cause and a definition, and trying to promote that distinction while they were overloaded with circuit theory was just too much. So this year I created a unit called “Thinking Like a Technician,” in which I introduced the thinking skills we would use in the context of everyday examples.