Teaching Problem Solving In Mathematics
But working in cooperative groups does seem to have advantages.
Many teachers personalise word problems to include characters that the children in the class know.Even apparently relatively weak children may have ideas that turn out to be fruitful.Sometimes though, it can take a little work on the your part before the consequences of some ideas are seen. It is important to point out at this stage, that though we are concentrating here on mathematical problem solving, many of the strategies and techniques that are used in mathematics are used in any type of problem.Some of them have even expressed the opinion that what they were doing was not mathematics and have asked to do more problem solving instead of mathematics!But we want them to see that problem solving is mathematics and that it is an enjoyable subject. The way that children tackle problems is virtually the same as the way a research mathematician tackles research problems.There is very little difference between a child using the Scientific Approach to problem solve and a mathematician using it to do research.Hence through problem solving, children get a much better feel for what mathematics is actually about than they get in the more traditional type of teaching.Very little encouragement has been given to cooperation in the traditional didactic approach to teaching mathematics.There has not been the emphasis on children working together that there has been in other curriculum areas.This proposes that we construct our knowledge through our experience rather than absorbing what we are told.The constructivist views the child as an active learner.