Lärande i matematik Om resonemang och matematikuppgifters egenskaper
Sammanfattning: Since mathematical tasks are central to the teaching of mathematics, it is crucial to extend our knowledge of the characteristic features of tasks that are conducive to student development of problem-solving and reasoning abilities as well as conceptual understanding. The aim of the dissertation is to investigate how different types of mathematical tasks affect student learning and choice of learning strategies. This is done through a twofold approach: 1) to test the hypothesis that tasks affording students the opportunity and responsibility for constructing knowledge are more effective learning tools than tasks for which the solution is presented, and 2) to analyse the educational message embedded in the teacher’s formulation of the mathematical tasks on the Internet. The main conclusion is that the type of task students engage with is important for their learning of new things. The participants who were engaged in creating their own solutions were less successful during practice but performed better on the tests in comparison with the participants who were involved in solving the tasks with a given method. The results of the sub-studies indicate that in a learning situation consisting of repeated practice of a solution method, the results are closely related to the students’ cognitive ability. The investigation shows that tasks inviting the opportunity to be solved through creative reasoning, to a certain extent serve a compensatory function in relation to students’ cognitive resources. This means that the participants need not put in so much effort in the test situation if they have practiced creative reasoning. One conclusion to be drawn from the study of the educational message in Internet documents, when it comes to teachers’ formulation of tasks, is that there are many teachers who design tasks that encourage young students’ creative reasoning. However, the educational message in the documents shows that the teachers demand relatively little of the students in the majority of the tasks. The result indicates that there is some uncertainty about how to formulate and use tasks to support the older student’s mathematical development. The way the tasks are formulated indicates a lack of discursive tools to clarify the intended educational situation. Thus, the qualities in the tasks are hidden resources.
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