DoingCL - Thinking Aloud Pair Problem Solving (TAPPS)





Thinking Aloud Pair Problem Solving (TAPPS)

This problem-solving collaborative structure was introduced by Lochhead and Whimbey (1987) as a means to encourage problem-solving skills by verbalizing to a listener one's problem-solving thoughts. The idea behind TAPPS is that presenting aloud the problem-solving process helps analytical reasoning skills. The dialogue associated with TAPPS helps build the contextual framework needed for comprehension (MacGregor, 1990). Similarly, TAPPS permits students to rehearse the concepts, relate them to existing frameworks, and produce a deeper understanding of the material (Slavin, 1995).

Students are paired and given a series of problems. The two students are given specific roles that switch with each problem: Problem Solver and Listener. The problem solver reads the problem aloud and talks through the solution to the problem. The listener follows all of the problem solver's steps and catches any errors that occur. For the listener to be effective, he or she must also understand the reasoning process behind the steps. This may require the listener to ask questions if the problem solver's thought process becomes unclear. The questions asked, however, should not guide the problem solver to a solution nor should they explicitly highlight a specific error except to comment that an error has been made.

MacGregor, J. (1990). "Collaborative learning: Shared inquiry as a process of reform" In Svinicki, M. D. (Ed.), The changing face of college teaching, New Directions for Teaching and Learning No. 42.

Lochhead, J., and Whimbey, A. (1987). "Teaching analytical reasoning through thinking aloud pair problem solving" In Stice, J. E. (Eds.), Developing critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, New Directions for Teaching and Learning No. 30.

Millis, B. J., and Cottell, P. G., Jr. (1998). Cooperative learning for higher education faculty, American Council on Education, Series on Higher Education. The Oryx Press, Phoenix, AZ.

Slavin, R. E. (1995). Cooperative learning: Theory, research, and practice (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

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