Representation and analogical problem solving of expert and novice teachers

Teresa Mary Hogan, Fordham University


This study examined ways in which expert and novice teachers represent problems in the classroom and the relationship between the problem representation and how examples are used (reasoning by analogy) when reasoning about classroom issues. The 1st experiment, a triad judgment task, was a modified replication of studies in physics, chess, and mathematics to determine if their general findings hold true to those in teaching. Specifically, if expert teachers (n = 20) represent problems in their domain in terms of deep, structural features (i.e., the theoretical underpinnings in areas of instruction, assessment and curriculum planning) inherent to the profession while novice teachers (n = 98) tend to rely on surface features (narrative characteristics of the problem including the teacher, grade level and subject taught). The 2nd experiment, an analogical problem solving task, was intended to inform the researcher as to whether the expert and novice teachers perform differently in 2 respects; first if participants given analogies (experimental group) more often select the appropriate solution to a classroom problem than those not presented with analogies (control group). Secondly, if expert teachers attend to different features (i.e., deep or surface) of a problem than novices when using the strategy of analogical problem solving. Findings from the first experiment were consistent with results from previous studies examining problem representation among experts and novices within a specific domain in that experts primarily relied on the deep features to form a representation while novices tended to use surface characteristics as the defining feature. Results from the second experiment revealed that experts attended to the deep, structural features of the problem more often than did novices under specific conditions, however, the analogies did not seem to provide an advantage in determining the most appropriate solution to the classroom problems. Implications for teacher education are discussed.

Subject Area

Cognitive therapy|Educational psychology|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Hogan, Teresa Mary, "Representation and analogical problem solving of expert and novice teachers" (2004). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3147895.