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Abstract Title: Understanding Confusion: Is it as bad as it seems?
Abstract: Physics instructors, by and large, try to avoid confusing their students. However, the truism underlying this approach, "confusion is bad," has been challenged by instructors dating as far back as Socrates, who asked students to question their assumptions and wrestle with ideas. This begs the question: Are confused students simply lost, or does their confusion indicate deeper, more critical thinking than less-confused learners? We evaluated student performance on assignments (i.e. correct and incorrect responses) in an introductory physics course that involved innovative methodologies (peer instruction, just-in-time teaching, and research-based materials) while simultaneously asking them to self-assess their confusion over the material. We probed whether students who said they were confused were correct more or less frequently than students who did not claim to be confused. In this poster, we highlight our results and draw some conclusions about confusion. Is it really as bad as it seems?
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Ives Araujo
Harvard University
29 Oxford Street, 292
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 857-233-6659
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Jason Dowd, Harvard University
Julie Schell, Harvard University
Jessica Watkins, Harvard University
Eric Mazur, Harvard University