Pre-service Primary Teachers' understanding of mathematical problem posing and problem solving: exploring the impact of a study intervention
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The results of national assessments – National Assessment in Mathematics and English Reading (Shiel, Kavanagh and Millar, 2014) and international assessments- Programme for International Student Assessment (2011) and Trends in Mathematical and Science Studies (2012) reveal the need for improvement in the Mathematical skills of “Applying and problem solving” and “Reasoning” as laid out in the Revised Primary Mathematics Curriculum (NCCA 1999). Many studies have emphasised the valuable role problem solving plays in the classroom. Central to this is the quality of the problems posed. The primary aim of this study was to explore the effect of a study intervention on the problem posing skills of pre-service Primary teachers. The study intervention took a pre-test/post-test format. A questionnaire exploring participants’ knowledge of and attitudes towards problem posing and problem solving was administered to First Year Bachelor of Education students in the Second Semester of their Four Year teacher education course. The study intervention, comprised of a series of lectures and tutorial sessions on problem solving/problem posing, then followed. The original questionnaire was again administered. The data were analysed and pre-test/ post-test changes evaluated. This evaluation revealed that the students’ conception of what constituted a mathematical problem had greatly improved as shown by the variety and quality of the post-intervention posed problems. The study recommendations outline the need for the inclusion of problem solving/problem posing modules in initial teacher education courses.
KeywordsMathematical problem posing and solving
Primary mathematics curriculum