Advances in instructional Psychology
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The contributors to this volume address reasoning and problem solving as fundamental to learning and teaching and to modern literacy. The research on expertise and the development of competence makes it clear that structures of knowledge and cognitive process should be tightly linked throughout education to attain high levels of ability. The longstanding pedagogical assumption that the attainment of useful knowledge proceeds from lower level learning based on the practice of fundamental skills that demand little thought, to higher level competence in which problem solving finally plays an increasing role, is no longer tenable. It is now clear that thinking is not an outcome of basic learning, but is part of the basic acquisition of knowledge and skill. In learning to read, for example, decoding the printed word and understanding simple texts is an act of problem solving, requiring inference and elaboration by the reader. The prevalence of reasoning with information at all levels makes the details of its involvement a fundamental influence on learning and instruction -- a recurring theme in each of the chapters. A rich variety of topics is addressed including: *an analysis of the components of teaching competence *the evolution of a learner's mathematical understanding *the use of causal models for generating scientific explanations *the facilitation of meaningful learning through text illustrations *the competence of children in argumentative interaction that results in conceptual change.