Associate Professor of PhysicsNorth Dakota State University (North Dakota)
Mila Kryjevskaia is an Associate Professor of Physics at North Dakota State University. She received her PhD in Physics in 2008, working with the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington. She has been developing research-based instructional materials for undergraduates and K-12 teachers since 2001. Over the past few years, a primary focus of her work has been an in-depth, multi-institutional investigation of student reasoning in the context of scaffolded, inquiry-based instruction. Other areas of research interests include student learning of waves and optics, metacognition in introductory physics, and professional development of college instructors. Dr. Kryjevskaia is an active member of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT); she has served as chair of the AAPT Committee on Research in Physics Education.
Examining students reasoning in physics through the lens of the Dual Process Theory*
The development of reasoning is arguably the most important outcome of college physics instruction. However, an emerging body of research has identified a common and puzzling phenomenon: students often demonstrate competent reasoning on one task, but not on other, closely related tasks. In some cases, students who struggle on specific types of physics questions may simply not possess the formal knowledge and skills necessary to arrive at a correct answer. In other cases, however, students may switch their cognitive mode, seeming to abandon the formal knowledge and skills in favor of (perhaps more appealing) intuitive ideas. Observed inconsistencies in reasoning can be accounted for by dual-process theories of reasoning asserting that human cognition relies on two largely independent thinking processes. The first process is fast and intuitive, and generally operates automatically, below the level of conscious thought, while the second is slow, logically deliberate, and effortful. In an ongoing, collaborative project the conditions under which physics students tend to apply intuitive or formal reasoning approaches have been examined. A paired-question methodology has been developed and applied in order to disentangle reasoning from conceptual understanding. Results from introductory physics courses will be presented and implications for instruction will be discussed. * This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. DUE-1431857, DUE-1431541, DUE-1431940, DUE-1432765, DUE-1432052