Here is a question on my pre-class reading quiz: Describe something you found confusing or difficulty to understand from reading. What specifically about it are you having a hard time understanding?
A student writes, “I’m finding it difficult to make sense of any of the kinematic equations or why they work, and because I don’t know why they work it is very hard for me to think about using them to solve a problem unless the question has specific instructions to refer back to the list of equations.”
I know it, students know it, but this is still how we are expecting them to learn.
This kind of recipe for problem solving makes me think about information processing models/computer models of mind. If the output from the student is not ideal, then either you (the instructor) wrote a faulty program or they (the students) are faulty “computers.” Instructors want to be so explicit so that they can say “I didn’t write a faulty program, so I’m not the one to blame. (The students are the problem – not me.)”
I’ve definitely been guilty of this– I remember my first semester as a TA I wrote up some step-by-step instructions for free-body diagrams (“list all of the objects touching the mass… list all object that it rubs or rolls against… list any non-contact forces (gravity…)”). The students were so grateful, I felt so teacherly. I thought “if only someone had done this for me when I struggled with free-body diagrams!”
I agree. Both to the Yikes and to the empathy you express for why someone might go about doing this.