A.P. Aires, P. Vasco, P. Catarino

Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (PORTUGAL)
In Portugal, as in other countries, since the late eighties of the twentieth century, the curricula of Basic Education have begun to give great priority and importance to solving problems. However, what has been verified is that the success of Portuguese students in solving problems is far from desirable. In fact, the results obtained in this area fall short of what would have been expected, both in internal evaluation (assessment tests) and in international tests (Programme for International Student Assessment - PISA, and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study - TIMSS). Therefore, it is important to analyse the answers that the future teachers of the first years give on questions such as: What is a problem?; What is problem solving?; What are problem – solving strategies?.

Thus, with the objective of investigating the knowledge of future teachers of the first years about the theme of solving mathematical problems, an investigation was carried out with 24 students who were attending the 1st year of the degree in Basic Education of a university, in the north of Portugal, in the academic year 2016/17. A qualitative nature was the methodology adopted, following a case study design and the data collection instrument was the questionnaire survey, implemented in the first class of the Curricular Unit "Logic and Problem Solving". To the data analysis, which focused on the students' responses to the survey implemented, we have used content analysis through the formulation of categories. It was found that future teachers revealed a very fragile knowledge regarding the resolution of mathematical problems, showing the need for this to be one of the central aspects of the mathematical subjects to be developed in the initial formation of teachers in order to improve the success of students in this subject.