Preservice Teacher Perspective on Problem Solving Tasks

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Irena Mišurac
Maja Cindrić

Abstract

There is a strong link between teaching activities in teaching mathematics and students’ outcomes. Activities that teachers and students conduct in mathematics are encouraged to specific mathematical competence of students. In the present research, we wanted to establish to what extent the Croatian class teachers know the guidelines of teaching mathematics and their awareness of the importance of performing activities that encourage contemporary mathematical processes. The goal of the research was to establish which activities teachers carry out when teaching mathematics in order to foresee the competences to be developed in their pupils. We have done our research on a sample questionnaire of 400 class teachers that teach mathematics 4 classes a week. To determine which activities were conducted by teachers with students in class mathematics and how often, we defined 26 activities for teachers to determine the intensity of their use on the Likert scale from 1 (never) to 5 (almost always). We selected 15 activities typical of modern teaching of mathematics and 11 activities typical of traditional teaching, which we offered in mixed order in the survey.

In like manner, we worked out 26 competences (15 competences emphasized by contemporary teaching of mathematics and 11 emphasized on traditional teaching), while teachers marked the number of competences they considered to be important for pupils.

In order to test the theoretical assumption on the difference in access to teachers who work in a modern or traditional way, we conducted a process of factor analysis. The factor analysis clearly distinguished the two groups of activities and two groups of competences, and as expected the way to the variables that saturate the first factor consists of contemporary activities/competences and variables that saturate the second factor consists of traditional activities/competences. This confirms our theoretical setting of modern and traditional approach to teaching mathematics.

We noticed that most teachers carried out traditional activities more frequently than the contemporary ones, but that most of them evaluated contemporary competences with better scores than traditional ones.

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