Problem-solving preferences of mathematics teachers: Focusing on symmetry

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    The aim of the study presented in this paper was to explore factors that influence teachers' problem-solving preferences in the process of (a) solving a problem, (b) explaining it to a peer, (c) liking it, (d) teaching it. A special mathematical activity was designed to develop teachers' preferences concerning whether to use symmetry when solving the problems. It was implemented and explored in an in-service program for professional development of high-school mathematics teachers. As a result, three interrelated factors that influence teachers' problem-solving preferences were identified: (i) Two patterns in teachers' problem-solving behavior, i.e., teachers' tendency to apply a stereotypical solution to a problem and teachers' tendency to act according to problem-solving beliefs, (ii) the way in which teachers characterize a problem-solving strategy, (iii) teachers' familiarity with a particular problem-solving strategy and a mathematical topic to which the problem belongs. Findings were related to teachers' developing thinking in solving problems and using them with their students. The activity examined in this paper may serve as a model for professional development of mathematic teachers and be useful for different professional development programs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)297-329
    Number of pages33
    JournalJournal of Mathematics Teacher Education
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - 1 Dec 2003


    • High School Teachers
    • Mathematics Education
    • Preferences
    • Problem Solving
    • Professional Development
    • Inservice Teacher Education
    • Strategies


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