Improving word problem performance in elementary school students by enriching word problems used in mathematics teaching
Nonmanut Pongsakdi, Teija Laine, Koen Veermans, Minna M. Hannula-Sormunen and Erno Lehtinen
The traditional practice of using word problems in classroom mathematics has been heavily criticized by educators and researchers. Students have an inclination to apply superficial strategies and exclude several important steps of the modeling process. In this study, a Word Problem Enrichment program (WPE) was developed to encourage teachers to use innovative self-created word problems to improve student mathematical modeling and problem solving skills. Participants included 170 fourth-, and sixth-graders and ten teachers from elementary schools in southwest Finland. The intervention effectiveness on student problem solving performance was investigated. The results suggested that the enriching word problems used in mathematics teaching is a promising method to improve student problem solving skills when solving non-routine and application word problems.
Nonmanut Pongsakdi is a PhD student at the Department of Teacher Education, University of Turku in Finland. She is a part of mathematics learning research group: Cultivating future mathematical minds. Her research is primarily focused on teaching and learning mathematical word problem solving in the elementary school.
Teija Laine is an expert teacher who has many years of experience in teaching elementary school mathematics. Currently, she teaches at Pansio School, and also works for the Center of Teacher Training in Turku. She has been involved in several pre-service and in-service teacher trainings in mathematics.
Koen Veermans is a senior researcher at the Department of Teacher Education, University of Turku in Finland. His research interests are science learning, computer simulation as well as mathematical problem solving. He specializes in mixed method, and he is also teaching research methodology at the University of Turku.
Minna M. Hannula-Sormunen
Minna M. Hannula-Sormunen is adjunct professor at the Department of Teacher Education, University of Turku in Finland. She has been involved in several innovative studies in mathematics. Her main focus is children’s early mathematical development: Spontaneous focusing on numerosity (SFON).
Erno Lehtinen is academy professor at the Department of teacher education at University of Turku in Finland. He has been involved in many different research areas, and he is also a leader of mathematics learning research group: cultivating future mathematical minds.