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The Curriculum Journal - 2023 - Foster - Problem solving in the mathematics curriculum From domain‐general strategies to (1).pdf (2.38 MB)

Problem solving in the mathematics curriculum: from domain-general strategies to domain-specific tactics

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posted on 2023-10-16, 09:53 authored by Colin FosterColin Foster

Problem solving is widely regarded as a fundamental feature within the school mathematics curriculum. However, there is considerable disagreement over what exactly problem solving is, and if and how it can be taught. In this article, I define problems as non-routine tasks and propose the explicit teaching of domain-specific problem-solving tactics that are applicable over narrow ranges of mathematical content. This is in contrast to the widespread practice of attempting to teach domain-general strategies that are supposedly applicable across diverse content areas. The proposed approach here systematically introduces students to a well-defined set of high-leverage content-specific tactics, presented in a purposeful order, and taught explicitly through the use of carefully-chosen problems which those tactics dramatically unlock. I argue that this sequenced approach to teaching problem solving addresses concerns widely reported about the apparent unteachability of domain-general problem-solving strategies and has the potential to enable all students to benefit from a powerful problem-solving mathematics curriculum.

Funding

Research England

History

School

  • Science

Department

  • Mathematics Education Centre

Published in

The Curriculum Journal

Volume

34

Issue

4

Pages

594-612

Publisher

Wiley

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Author

Publisher statement

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Acceptance date

2023-05-12

Publication date

2023-05-31

Copyright date

2023

ISSN

0958-5176

eISSN

1469-3704

Language

  • en

Depositor

Dr Colin Foster. Deposit date: 12 May 2023

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