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Teaching through problems: an approach to student development

In Brazil, teaching through problems has been characterized as an innovative proposal, usually appearing in two approaches: problem-based learning and methodology of questioning. Such approaches are presented as methods that go beyond traditional teaching, with the clear intention of promoting active student learning. Both do contribute to make students more active in learning, but also have some shortcomings. In this article, I discuss these shortcomings and present an approach situated in the perspective of the cultural-historical theory: the theory of developmental teaching. This theory also emphasizes teaching through problems, advancing in the following aspects: methodological and theoretical explanation of the learning activity in a historical-cultural perspective; explaining the formation of concepts as a process of qualitative change in students' thinking and in their ability to establish new relations with knowledge associated with transforming actions. I argue that this cultural-historical approach is more promising, since it enhances the development of students' scientific-theoretical thinking as a factor in the development of their intellectual abilities, of their thinking activity. In addition, I propose a system of learning actions which help students to form a method of thinking based on understanding the object of knowledge in its genesis and transformation movement. In conclusion, I emphasize that this cultural-historical approach can enhance the effects of education on student development and increase the quality of learning and that it is useful in various levels of education.

Education through problems; Developmental education; Cultural-historical theory; Didactics

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