Learning and Teaching Seminar Series Session 2, 2010 Professor Michael Cowling and Professor John Sweller ________________ Time: 3pm, Friday 19th November Location: Room Room OMB-149 OMB is the Old Main Building at UNSW - located immediately behind the Red Centre. It can be accessed from the Red Centre by a walkway leading from the main central stairs. Please join us after the seminar for refreshments in the staffroom Red Centre RC-3082. Seminar co-ordinator: Diana Combe: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org _________________ Teaching General Problem-Solving Skills Is Not a Substitute for, or a Viable Addition to, Teaching Mathematics Professor John Sweller, The School of Eucation, UNSW Abstract: Problem solving is central to mathematics. Yet problem-solving skill is not what it seems. The field of problem solving has recently undergone a surge in research interest and insight, but many of the results of this research are both counterintuitive and contrary to many widely held views. It is becoming clear that general problem solving strategies that cover a wide range of largely unrelated mathematical procedures are neither learnable nor teachable. In contrast, domain-specific problem solving strategies are eminently learnable and teachable. In this talk, I will briefly discuss relevant aspects of human cognitive architecture and the empirical evidence in support of these suggestions. ____________________ Reflections on Teaching in the UK and Australia Professor Michael Cowling, The School of Mathematics and Statistics, UNSW Abstract: The University of Birmingham is a similar institution to the University of New South Wales, but teaching there is quite different to teaching at UNSW. The differences include the different preparation of students in the UK system, more tightly focussed de- grees, different student expectations, different levels of support provided by the University, and more. This talk will try to cover quickly the differences and answer the question: what can we learn from them.