A STUDY ABOUT PRE-SERVICE ELEMENTARY TEACHERS’ PROBLEM- SOLVING PERFORMANCE
1 Hacettepe University (TURKEY)
2 Middle East Technical University (TURKEY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:Problem solving has only recently gained the increased attention of the mathematics education community, though problems and problem solving were always viewed as part of mathematics. An early description of problem solving was outlined by George Polya in his four phase model in his book “How to solve it.” Most of the work that followed has been an enhancement and modification of Polya’s fundamental ideas, all of which are used today. Polya’s stages are well-known and are also taken into account and constructed a theoretical basement for the present study.
The problem-solving process is a teachable skill that everyone uses throughout life. The new reform in mathematics education in Turkey confirms these comments in terms of both content and method. The success of such reform attempts depends on the teachers' approval of the reform who will execute these programs, and it is apparent that the attempts will fail if they do not embrace them. Thus, pre-service teachers’ education is very crutial since they need to be examined in terms of their knowledge and skills required by these reform attempts. The main purpose of this study was to investigate the development of pre-service elementary teachers’ problem- solving performance during problem solving instruction.
According to aim of the study, a qualitative research was conducted to examine the research question “How does the pre-service elementary school teachers’ problem-solving performance change according to the Polya’s phases during problem solving instruction?”
The study was conducted in Basic Mathematics Course II, applied in elementary teacher education division with 8 elementary school pre-service teachers at a public university in Central Anatolia Region in Turkey. The time duration of the study was 12 weeks in the 2007-2008 academic year in the second semester. Problem-solving instruction was implemented in Basic Mathematics Course II. This problem solving instruction is a way of teaching problem solving based on Polya's four-phase model and reflection of social constructivist learning environments. By this problem solving approach students can express their opinions on the issue that is worked on individually or with their peers, can share their ideas with other students and constitute their own opinions in problem solving process. Interview task protocols were conducted three times during the study to collect the data.
According to the first interview which was conducted before the instruction it was found that all students understood the problems and they made a plan to solve the problems but none of them checked their answers. In the second interview, all of the students understood the problems and they made a plan to solve the problem. In addition for application the plan phase approximately same number of students when comparing the number of students did in the first interview. Additionally five students checked their solutions and they looked back the steps they did in their solutions. In the last interviews it was found that all students understood the problems, made their plans and carry out their plans to find the answer. Moreover all students checked their solutions. Thus according to the interview results problem solving instruction had developed pre-service teachers’ skills on Polya’s problem solving phase.
Keywords: Problem-solving, pre-service elementary teachers.