Research in problem solving in mathematics

Nisbet, S., and Putt, I.J. (2000) Research in problem solving in mathematics. In: Owens, K., and Mousley, J., (eds.) Research in Mathematics Education in Australasia 1996-1999. Research in Mathematics Education in Australasia . Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia Inc, Turramurra, NSW, Australia, pp. 97-121.

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[Extract] Mathematical problem solving continued to be an area of research in Australasia during the second half of the 1990s. This research has occur red in the context of continued attention to the role of problem solving in teaching and learning school mathematics. Despite the recent highlighting of basic, often minimal, numeracy as a priority in the federal and state circles, problem solving continued to be described as an essential competency in school mathematics. During this period, the Commonwealth· Department of Employment; Education and Training provided a grant to the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT) to support a project to promote an informed view of the competency Using Mathematical Ideas and Techniques (UMIT) to educators in all relevant areas and provide strategies for the effective development of this competency in young people" (AAMT, 1996). UMIT is one of a set of work related key competencies previously identified by a national vocational education committee (Mayer, 1992). The set includes collecting, analysing and organizing information; communicating ideas and information; planning and organizing activities; working with others and in teams; using mathematical ideas and techniques, solving problems; and using technology.

Because of the central role of solving problems in constructivist theories, considerable attention has been paid to the notion of problem solving as an essential activity for learning mathematics. The literature on learning and teaching in mathematics emphasise; the significance of "constructivism" (a) as an approach to understanding the process of learning of mathematics and (b) as a guide to teachers as facilitators of learning . A scan of Australian professional mathematics teachers' journals reveals that teachers have reported frequently on their focus on problem solving and investigation in mathematics classes, and have encouraged their peers to do likewise (see, for example, Borg, 1998;Holton, 1997; Nonhcroft, 1999; Perso, 1997; Stephens, Ball, Montgomery &Waters, 1997; Stoyanova & Bana, 1997; Wilson & Brown, 1998). As a prominent facet of mathematics reaching at primary and secondary levels, problem solving has, not surprisingly, continued to be the subject of investigation for many researchers in Australasia.

This chapter covers research on problem solving conducted in Australasia or by Australasians in the period 1996-1999. The organisation of the chapter is similar to that used in the chapter of the previous review publication (Nisbet, Putt & Taplin, 1996) and is based on the following categories:

• contexts and applications of problem solving; • techniques: a) visual factors, b) cognitive demand on problem solvers (c) the use of algebraic and other special techniques in problem solving and d) the application of the SOLO taxonomy to cognition in mathematical problem solving; • teaching strategies to facilitate problem solving including metacognitive frameworks, collaborative learning, problem posing and use of open-ended tasks; • catering for special groups; • the role of affective factors in problem solving; • and teachers and their professional development.

Item ID: 14294
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 0-646-39394-4
Keywords: mathematics education
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2017 23:47
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130208 Mathematics and Numeracy Curriculum and Pedagogy @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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