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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“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.

Although the teacher needs to be very much present, the primary focus in the class needs to be on the students’ thinking processes.”Students need to have opportunities to work on complex tasks rather than a series of simple tasks devolved from a complex task.

This is important for stimulating the students’ mathematical reasoning and building durable mathematical knowledge (Anthony and Walshaw, 2007).

More recently, teachers have come to understand that becoming mathematically literate is also a complex problem-solving activity that increases in power and flexibility when practiced more often.

A problem in mathematics is any situation that must be resolved using mathematical tools but for which there is no immediately obvious strategy.

Problem-solving allows students to develop understanding and explain the processes used to arrive at solutions, rather than remembering and applying a set of procedures.

It is through problem-solving that students develop a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts, become more engaged, and appreciate the relevance and usefulness of mathematics (Wu and Zhang 2006).

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.

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