Author: Southwell, Beth
Type of paper: Abstract refereed
In the resolution of mathematical problems, the whole individual is involved. It is impossible to compartmentalise the cognitive aspects separately from the affective aspects. A researcher may attempt to examine the different domains separately, but what is observed as an affective feature relates closely to and exerts influence over the cognitive features of the situation and vice versa. In order to gain some insights into the various factors which contribute to success and failure in mathematical problem solving, the writer undertook a project to investigate the problem solving behaviour of teacher education students, children and other adults. The variables to be investigated were isolated as a result of an examination of the situation existing in the School of Education at the University of Western Sydney, Nepean, and the recent introduction of the new N.S.W. K-6 Mathematics Syllabus. The latter places considerable emphasis on the importance of problem solving and mathematical thinking in all aspects of mathematics. The situation in the School of Education is such that a significant percentage of the teacher education students are mature aged women without recent backgrounds in mathematics for the task which will be theirs as teachers in primary schools.