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Paper presented at the Asia-Pacific Education Research Association Conference, Hong Kong, China, 2006
Participating in a research project, the researcher-teacher came to realize he often ‘go
over assigned work’ as a way to teach problem solving. It involved giving students
problems to try, and after some lapse of time, he would go over the assigned work.
On reflection, such an approach offered his students a limited experience in problem
solving. Students focused more on getting the steps to solve the problem and were
seemingly able to do the given problems afterwards. There was very little transfer of
learning to new or unfamiliar problems. To explore better practices, the researcherteacher
conceived of a way to tweak the usual approach. Gleaning from Polya (1957),
viz., an Understand, Strategize, Execute and Reflect (USER) to explore a strategy to
develop better problem solving skills is incorporated into the teaching of problem
solving. The researchers conducted a teaching experiment. The USER approach is
incorporated in one class of students over a period of the school year by the
researcher-teacher. The other researcher conducted a pre- and post-test both in this
class and another class for comparison purposes. Results from the pre- and post-tests
show that the USER approach made some significant impact. A follow-up analysis
on the year-end formal school examination showed statistically significant differences
between the experimental and the contrast class. This paper reports on the results and
the experiences of the researcher-teacher.
Project number: 
CRP 1/04 JH
Appears in Collections:CRPP - Conference Papers

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