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'I'm not very good at solving problems': An exploration of students' problem solving behaviours


Muir, T and Beswick, K and Williamson, JC, 'I'm not very good at solving problems': An exploration of students' problem solving behaviours, Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 27, (3) pp. 228-241. ISSN 0732-3123 (2008) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1016/j.jmathb.2008.04.003


This paper reports one aspect of a larger study which looked at the strategies used by a selection of grade 6 students to solve six non-routine mathematical problems. The data revealed that the students exhibited many of the behaviours identified in the literature as being associated with novice and expert problem solvers. However, the categories of ‘novice’ and ‘expert’ were not fully adequate to describe the range of behaviours observed and instead three categories that were characteristic of behaviours associated with ‘naïve’, ‘routine’ and ‘sophisticated’ approaches to solving problems were identified. Furthermore, examination of individual cases revealed that each student's problem solving performance was consistent across a range of problems, indicating a particular orientation towards naïve, routine or sophisticated problem solving behaviours. This paper describes common problem solving behaviours and details three individual cases involving naïve, routine and sophisticated problem solvers.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Problem solving; Behaviours; Mathematics
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Mathematics and numeracy curriculum and pedagogy
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Learner and learning
Objective Field:Learner and learning not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Muir, T (Associate Professor Tracey Muir)
UTAS Author:Beswick, K (Professor Kim Beswick)
UTAS Author:Williamson, JC (Professor John Williamson)
ID Code:60517
Year Published:2008
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2010-02-09
Last Modified:2014-10-09
Downloads:10 View Download Statistics

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