ERIC Number: EJ918414
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 56
An Examination of Middle School Students' Representation Practices in Mathematical Problem Solving through the Lens of Expert Work: Towards an Organizing Scheme
Stylianou, Despina A.
Educational Studies in Mathematics, v76 n3 p265-280 Apr 2011
Representation is viewed as central to mathematical problem solving. Yet, it is becoming obvious that students are having difficulty negotiating the various forms and functions of representations. This article examines the functions that representation has in students' mathematical problem solving and how that compares to its function in the problem solving of experts and broadly in mathematics. Overall, this work highlights the close connections between the work of experts and students, showing how students use representations in ways that are inherently similar to those of experts. Both experts and students use representations as tools towards the understanding, exploration, recording, and monitoring of problem solving. In social contexts, experts and students use representations for the presentation of their work but also the negotiation and co-construction of shared understandings. However, this research also highlights where students' work departs from experts' representational practices, hence, providing some directions for pedagogy and further work.
Descriptors: Problem Solving, Mathematics Education, Learning, Middle Schools, Teaching Methods, Secondary School Students, Educational Research
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A