EARCOME Conference, 18-22 August 2010 Tokyo
In search of excellence in mathematics education
Problem-Based Learning the 4 Core Areas(PBL4C)in the search of excellence in Mathematics education
Teoh Boon Tat Warabhorn Preechaporn Leong Chee Kin
Mathematics Education SpecialistsSoutheast Asian Ministers of Education OrganisationRegional Centre for Education in Science and MathematicsSEAMEO RECSAMPenang, Malaysia
: Problem-based learning (PBL) has fast been adopted in many fields of educationincluding the search of excellence in the field of Mathematics education. As expected,diversity in forms has emerged. Whilst the main processes of PBL can commonly be foundin many of the diversed forms, one question arises in regard to the purpose of using the PBLapproach in Mathematics education in particular, and in any other subjects of learning ingeneral, in solving real life problems
what kind of problems? Problem-Based Learning the4 Core Areas (PBL4C) emerges in trying to provide solutions to this pertinent question. The4 core areas incorporated in this form of PBL are the core areas of content, thinkingprocesses, skills and values. The interconnectivity and significance between these coreareas are illustrated through a PBL activity. This paper further proposes with reasons whythese 4 core areas could be the holistic goal of education for any nation, beyondMathematics, in the search of excellence in lifelong education.
Problem-based learning; PBL4C; 4 core areas; Values; Lifelong learning
Problem-based learning (PBL) comes in various models. Common features and processes,however, could be identified in this variety of models. Among them: identifying the problem;gathering the information given unique to the problem; procuring extra information in theview of finding a solution to the problem; generating possible solutions; communicating,accommodating, selecting and executing the best solution, and finally making a presentationof the solution. Evaluation and facilitation are among other important features of PBL (Finkle& Torp, 1995; Lambros, 2002; Wee, 2004). One feature which we found to be quite uniqueto the PBL approach is the
ability to introduce change in student‟s
learning through theprovided scenarios (Teoh & Preechaporn, 2009) and thus presenting an opportunity forstudents to learn about change management, a lifelong learning skill.In this paper, while still maintaining these important features and processes, the purpose ofPBL in Mathematics education, or in whatever subjects the approach is used, becomescrucial with the asking of the following question:
what kind of problems?
In our search ofexcellence in education generally and in Mathematics specifically, while trying to find somepossible answers to this pertinent question, Problem-Based Learning the 4 Core Areas(PBL4C) emerged. The four core areas that we are proposing in PBL4C are the core areasof
content, skills, thinking processes, and values
(Teoh & Warabhorn, 2009). We will
now illustrate the 4 core areas in a student‟s learning
by using the following PBL activity.