Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education vol:6 pages:27-52
In this study we investigate the arithmetic and algebra word problemsolving skills and strategies of future primary and secondary school teachers in Flanders(Belgium). Moreover, we describe the evolution of these skills and strategies from the beginning to the end of their teacher education. The results show that future secondary school mathematics teachers preferred the use of algebra, even when an arithmetic solution was more straightforward. The solutions of future primary school teachers were more
diverse: one subgroup tended to apply exclusively arithmetic methods (which led to failures on the most difficult word problems), whereas another subgroup was more adaptive in its strategy choices. Finally, student teachers evolved in their problem-solving skills during their teacher education, but not in their strategy preferences. The research findings indicate that, in the education of pre-service primary and secondary school teachers, there is a need for an explicit treatment of pupils’ transition from arithmetical to algebraic thinking.
Afdeling Didactiek. Centrum voor Instructiepsychologie en -technologie. Departement Pedagogische wetenschappen. Leuvens Instituut voor onderwijsonderzoek (LIVO) Afdeling Fundamentele en comparatieve pedagogiek en methodologie. Centrum voor Methodologie van het pedagogisch onderzoek.