Solving of multi-faceted, complex problems demands students to be self-guided in drawing upon conceptual knowledge. Here we summarize an initial study of the effectiveness of inducing talk about bodies and their relations to forces; the conceptual structure of Statics suggests the potential benefit of this approach. Protocols (written and spoken) are obtained for students solving problems both before and after instruction. Instruction consists of responding to questions about bodies and forces followed by an expert response. Solutions and protocols are graded and coded, respectively. Based on limit data, body-centered talk appears to increase solution accuracy.
Paul S. Steif, Anne L. Fay, Levent Burak Kara, Stephen E. Spencer. (2006). Work in Progress - Improving Problem Solving Performance in Statics through Body-Centric Talk. 36rd ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, San Diego, CA., October, 28-31, 2006.