Implementing a problem solving strategy in teaching mathematics in lower secondary classes in a private school
Date of Award
Master of Education (M. Ed.)
Institute for Educational Development, Karachi
This study set out to explore the experiences of two practicing teachers trying to implement a problem solving strategy in mathematics teaching. During the data collection period, I worked very closely with two teachers, working in a private secondary school, to introduce the problem solving strategy in teaching mathematics in classes seven and six. I collected data for this study over a period of seven weeks. I gathered the data through participant observation, interviews and conversations. I also maintained a journal throughout the period of data collection where I noted important points, my feelings and new questions that were emerging. I reflected deeply on my role as a teacher researcher, teacher educator, and classroom teacher. The dissertation contains thick descriptions of planning, teaching and post teaching interactions that highlight the delicate relationship the researcher had, with the participant teachers, over the period of the study. Teachers faced numerous challenges, which included difficulties in class management, difficulties in questioning and difficulties in planning for teaching. Similarly I faced a number of challenges that ranged from lack of expertise in joint planning and joint teaching to difficulty in transforming existing curriculum materials to fit the problem solving approach to the teaching of mathematics. I was particularly inspired to carry out my study in this area of mathematics education, by the appeal of the constructivist learning theories, and the pedagogical power that the constructivist theory seems to promise. I have argued that although the problem solving strategy is undoubtedly a good way of teaching and learning mathematics, learning to teach in that manner needs extra commitment, and collaboration among teachers. I have also argued that it is a bit over optimistic to assume that all teachers will become expert curriculum developers, with the ability to design curriculum materials consistent with the problem solving approach, hence, the need to develop and make such materials available to teachers, if substantial change in mathematics teaching is to occur.
Samuel, M. (2002). Implementing a problem solving strategy in teaching mathematics in lower secondary classes in a private school (Unpublished master's dissertation). Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.