International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education vol:9 issue:4 pages:919-948
In the present study, which is a part of a research project about realistic word problem solving and problem posing in Chinese elementary schools, a problem solving and a problem posing test were administered to 128 pre-service and in-service elementary school teachers from Tianjin City in China, wherein the teachers were asked to solve 3 contextually challenging division-with-remainder (DWR) word problems and pose word problems according to 3 symbolic expressions. Afterwards, they were also given 2 questionnaires wherein they had to evaluate 3 different pupil reactions to, respectively, 1 problem solving item and 1 problem posing item about DWR. First, our results revealed that teachers behaved quite ‘realistically’ not only when solving and posing DWR problems themselves but also when evaluating elementary school pupils’ DWR problem solving and problem posing performance. Second, we found a correspondence between teachers’ own performance on the tests and their evaluations of pupils’ reactions. Third, the present study provides some further insight into the role of one of the instructional factors that is generally considered responsible for the strong and worldwide tendency among elementary school children to neglect real-world knowledge and realistic considerations in their endeavours to solve and pose mathematical word problems, namely the teachers’ conceptions and beliefs about this topic.