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POSING PROBLEMS TO DEVELOP CONCEPTUAL UNDERSTANDING:Two Teachers Make Senses of Division of Fractions and ASSESSING STUDENTS MATHEMATICAL PROBLEM

POSING A Critical Analysis There are many benefits for both students and teachers posing mathematical problems; students become better problem solvers and teachers develop their own mathematical knowledge and understanding. In an article Some Reflections and Problem Posing: A Conversation with Marion Walter by Juliet A. Baxter, Professor Walter emphasizes that students work harder on problems that they themselves have posed. Psychologically, students will most likely be challenged considering the problem he is solving is posed by him. The greatest obstacle in this case that educators will face is how to incorporate posing problems and solving them, and get the students to think of themselves not only as problem solvers but as posers as well in due consideration that there is also a need to change the current homogeneity of the teaching methods observed in a given school. This would be a very broad and difficult task to tackle as some studies reveal that teaching is cultural; most teachers within a culture use similar methods. Educational institutions must find ways to improve the standard operating procedure in mathematics classroom to make incremental and continuous improvements in the quality of the instruction that most students experience. Problem posing, however, has typically received far less attention compared to problem solving which has been a part of the school curriculum and as an instructional goal. This is definitely true in the traditional classroom setting as students focus only on finding solutions on mathematical problems they were asked to solve. It probably did not even occurred to most of the students that they could pose problems that the entire class might find interesting and appealing to ponder upon. Unfortunately, this has been a fact going on for generations that educational institutions must stress out and be established in the curriculum. The great thinker Albert Einstein became an icon and an important figure in history not only because of his revolutionary ideas but also for his

ability to ask questions and pose problems that until today baffles and mystifies the entire science community. David J. Whitin on his article Problem Posing in the Elementary Classroom attributed that in the process of investigation (as in posing and solving problems), mathematicians also develop attitudes about learning, such as perseverance, willingness to revise their thinking, and appreciation for the value of risk taking. These values and attitudes are what educators would want their subjects to harness and develop. If this concept is a bit neglected in a mathematics class, it maybe because teachers learned mathematics mostly as rules without reasons as quoted by Flores, Turner and Bachman. Most if not all, math learners tend to question the essence of solving mathematical problems, more so in posing them. At the end of the period, they would somehow come up with a solution from different approaches, yet still doubtful and dubious of how the problem is being developed the challenge is to make the instruction more relevant than just a mere by-product of wild thoughts and imaginations. Active teaching makes learning further efficient, effective, and more meaningful. Unless the student knows what kind of problems he is posing and how to develop them, the learning process would be interesting, curiosity- driven and fruitful. Contrary to Carolyn and Elizabeths approach, teachers often pose only one problem to try to make sense of a concept. Sometimes, the problem posed is not the most revealing. And it would be very difficult for a teacher or her students to make sense of a given concept dealing only with one problem. The finger now points to the teacher as the one in control or in-charge of the classroom. In this situation viewed as a flow on the side of the teacher, the institution must find ways to remedy deficiencies in the knowledge of current teachers. And this calls for a thorough evaluation on the teaching styles and techniques utilized by the teachers. The focus of teachers has some merit, of course, says James W. Stigler and James Hiebert on the article improving Mathematics Teaching, but they believe that a focus on the improvement of teaching-the methods that teachers use in the classroom will yield greater returns.

On the other hand, encouraging students to deepen and widen their thinking can provide unique insight into the way students are thinking about the mathematics they are investigating. In addition, when students reflect on their own way of thinking, it makes a significant impact on their ability to pose and solve problems now and in the future.