Problem-solving in mathematics supports the development of: Problem-solving should underlie all aspects of mathematics teaching in order to give students the experience of the power of mathematics in the world around them.
This method allows students to see problem-solving as a vehicle to construct, evaluate, and refine their theories about mathematics and the theories of others.
If the way forward is obvious, it’s not a problem—it is a straightforward application.
To understand how students become problem solvers we need to look at the theories that underpin learning in mathematics.
By the time young children enter school they are already well along the pathway to becoming problem solvers.
From birth, children are learning how to learn: they respond to their environment and the reactions of others.
Learning takes place within social settings (Vygotsky, 1978).
Students construct understandings through engagement with problems and interaction with others in these activities.
Teachers who get this right create resilient problem solvers who know that with perseverance they can succeed.
Problems need to be within the students’ “Zone of Proximal Development” (Vygotsky 1968).