Journal of the Japanese Society for Technology Education

Number 1
Volume 40


A Study of Mental Image as it Relates to Problem-Solving Performance in the Woodworking Area
Kimihito TAKENO, Masashi MATSUURA

It is important that students think about a problem in various ways during the process of problem-solving. In this paper, students' thinking activity is defined as the functioning of their mental image. The purpose of this paper is to clarify what kind of mental image students have and how they process that image when they are involved in learning to fabricate products in technology education classes. Mental images have hierarchies. The information-processing level is one of the levels in the hierarchy. Furthermore, this level can be classified into the following four groups: "sensitive image", "intellectual image", "emotional image", and "control/evaluation image". The authors conducted an experiment to obtain data on the students' mental image while they were required to perform a woodworking activity, and analyzed that image according to the four categories of mental image. The result showed that the intellectual and control/evaluation images played an important role in students' problem-solving performance in woodworking. To determine what these two categories of mental image consist of, further investigation is necessary. Although other research in the industrial arts claims that the amount of students' knowledge about a given problem may lead to good problem-solving performance. However, this paper suggests that, depending upon the type of problem, good performance is related to the amount of student's skills as well as knowledge about the given problem.

Key words : Woodworking, problem-solving, mental image.