On Teaching Problem Solving in School Mathematics

  • Erkki Pehkonen
  • Liisa Näveri
  • Anu Laine
Keywords: Mathematics teaching, Open problems, Problem solving


The article begins with a brief overview of the situation throughout the world regarding problem solving. The activities of the ProMath group are then described, as the purpose of this international research group is to improve mathematics teaching in school. One mathematics teaching method that seems to be functioning in school is the use of open problems
(i.e., problem fields). Next we discuss the objectives of the Finnish curriculum that are connected with problem solving. Some examples and research results are taken from a Finnish–Chilean research project that monitors the development of problem-solving skills in third grade pupils. Finally, some ideas on “teacher change” are put forward. It is not possible to change teachers, but only to provide hints for possible change routes: the teachers themselves should work out the ideas and their implementation.


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