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ERIC Number: EJ923184
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 78
ISSN: ISSN-1940-4158
The Problem with Problems: Potential Difficulties in Implementing Problem-Based Learning as the Core Method in Primary School Mathematics
Westwood, Peter
Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, v16 n1 p5-18 2011
This viewpoint paper presents the writer's opinion that while the use of problem solving as the core method for learning mathematics is valid and reasonable in secondary schools (where students generally possess the necessary prior skills and strategies) there are many obstacles to applying the same method in primary schools, particularly in the early years. In addition to acquiring a conceptual understanding of number, young learners--and older students with learning difficulties--need to develop automaticity in recalling basic number facts and in applying computational procedures. To do this they require both active experience with number relationships and direct teaching with guided and independent practice. There is no hard evidence that most students achieve adequate mastery of basic numeracy skills simply by engaging in exploratory problem solving. Drawing on the relevant literature the writer identifies and analyses the potential difficulties associated with using such an approach as a main method for teaching primary mathematics.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Primary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia