Problem Solving Skills In Mathematics

Problem-solving in mathematics supports the development of: Problem-solving should underlie all aspects of mathematics teaching in order to give students the experience of the power of mathematics in the world around them.

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Those students who think math is all about the “correct” answer will need support and encouragement to take risks.

Tolerance of difficulty is essential in a problem-solving disposition because being “stuck” is an inevitable stage in resolving just about any problem.

“A problem-solving curriculum, however, requires a different role from the teacher.

Rather than directing a lesson, the teacher needs to provide time for students to grapple with problems, search for strategies and solutions on their own, and learn to evaluate their own results.

If the way forward is obvious, it’s not a problem—it is a straightforward application.

To understand how students become problem solvers we need to look at the theories that underpin learning in mathematics.Through these social interactions, students feel that they can take risks, try new strategies, and give and receive feedback.They learn cooperatively as they share a range of points of view or discuss ways of solving a problem.Mathematics education is important not only because of the “gatekeeping role that mathematics plays in students’ access to educational and economic opportunities,” but also because the problem-solving processes and the acquisition of problem-solving strategies equips students for life beyond school (Cobb, & Hodge, 2002).The importance of problem-solving in learning mathematics comes from the belief that mathematics is primarily about reasoning, not memorization.The challenge for teachers is ensuring the problems they set are designed to support mathematics learning and are appropriate and challenging for all students.The problems need to be difficult enough to provide a challenge but not so difficult that students can’t succeed.This making sense of experience is an ongoing, recursive process.We have known for a long time that reading is a complex problem-solving activity.Teachers who get this right create resilient problem solvers who know that with perseverance they can succeed.Problems need to be within the students’ “Zone of Proximal Development” (Vygotsky 1968).


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