Lesson 5: CLINICAL APPROACH TO INTERVIEWING – PART 1

Lesson 5: CLINICAL APPROACH TO INTERVIEWING – PART 1

The clinical interview is a technique pioneered by Jean Piaget, in 1975, to study the form of knowledge structures and reasoning processes. In the last twenty-five years, it has evolved into a variety of methods, including open ended interviews and think aloud problem solving protocols. These techniques have played key roles in seminal studies in science and mathematics education as well as developmental psychology. Their strengths, in comparison to nonclinical, data gathering techniques, include the ability to collect and analyze data on mental processes at the level of a subject’s authentic ideas and meanings, and to expose hidden structures and processes in the subject’s thinking that could not be detected by less open ended techniques. These abilities are especially important because of Piaget’s discovery that people have many interesting knowledge structures and reasoning processes that are not the same as academic ones. They have alternative conceptions and use non formal reasoning and learning processes. Mapping this hidden world of indigenous thinking is crucial for the success of instructional design. Students cannot help but use their own prior conceptions and reasoning processes during instruction, and they have strong effects on the course of instruction. Since tests are almost always written from the point of view of the academic and are designed to detect standard forms of academic knowledge, they can fail to detect key elements in students’ thinking.

 

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