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A comparison of practices for teaching math word problems in Turkey and the United States

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Date Issued:
2014
Summary:
This multiple case study investigated pedagogical differences and similarities among practices used to teach word problems in private schools of Turkey and the United States, the factors impacting teachers’ instructional decisions, and their approaches to teaching word problems as well as the role of culture in teaching and learning word problems. Quantitative survey data were collected from 28 Turkish and 27 U.S. high school mathematics teachers from private or independent schools. The survey investigated teachers’ background information, resources used, and their use of teaching practices (teacher-centered, student-centered, concrete-visualizing, analytical) and types of word problems (true or practice-oriented) as well as their thoughts about the structure of word problems. Qualitative data were collected through classroom observations, videotaping, and focus-group interviews from four ninth grade algebra teachers in Turkey and the United States. Qualitative data helped the researcher expand upon the quantitative findings and examine how word problems actually were being taught in the classroom, the factors impacting teachers’ instruction and approaches to teaching word problems, and participants’ reflections on their own practices as well as on their international partners’ word problems instruction. The findings indicated no significant difference for most survey items, but descriptive statistical analysis revealed that Turkish survey participants incorporated teacher-centered, concrete-visualizing practices, and practice-oriented word problems more often in their instruction, while U.S. survey participants frequently used student centered, concrete-visualizing practices, and true problems. Qualitative findings pointed out what specific teaching practices were evident in the classrooms observed and videotaped in Turkey and the United States. While Turkish teachers thought the university entrance examination and national curriculum had the biggest impact on their teaching, U.S. teachers found school environment (traditional versus progressive) and student perception of word problems as influential on their instruction. The role of culture on teaching and learning word problems was observed in regard to teacher centered versus student-centered instruction, teacher versus student role, and student engagement. Study findings also indicated that cross-examination of teaching promotes teachers’ reflection on their own practices and, thus, should be encouraged and promoted across STEM disciplines and throughout a teaching career. Implications and recommendations for future research, curriculum developers, and mathematics teachers are discussed.
Title: A comparison of practices for teaching math word problems in Turkey and the United States.
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Name(s): Erkan, Betul, author
Zainuddin, Hanizah, Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
College of Education
Department of Curriculum, Culture, and Educational Inquiry
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2014
Date Issued: 2014
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 301 p.
Language(s): English
Summary: This multiple case study investigated pedagogical differences and similarities among practices used to teach word problems in private schools of Turkey and the United States, the factors impacting teachers’ instructional decisions, and their approaches to teaching word problems as well as the role of culture in teaching and learning word problems. Quantitative survey data were collected from 28 Turkish and 27 U.S. high school mathematics teachers from private or independent schools. The survey investigated teachers’ background information, resources used, and their use of teaching practices (teacher-centered, student-centered, concrete-visualizing, analytical) and types of word problems (true or practice-oriented) as well as their thoughts about the structure of word problems. Qualitative data were collected through classroom observations, videotaping, and focus-group interviews from four ninth grade algebra teachers in Turkey and the United States. Qualitative data helped the researcher expand upon the quantitative findings and examine how word problems actually were being taught in the classroom, the factors impacting teachers’ instruction and approaches to teaching word problems, and participants’ reflections on their own practices as well as on their international partners’ word problems instruction. The findings indicated no significant difference for most survey items, but descriptive statistical analysis revealed that Turkish survey participants incorporated teacher-centered, concrete-visualizing practices, and practice-oriented word problems more often in their instruction, while U.S. survey participants frequently used student centered, concrete-visualizing practices, and true problems. Qualitative findings pointed out what specific teaching practices were evident in the classrooms observed and videotaped in Turkey and the United States. While Turkish teachers thought the university entrance examination and national curriculum had the biggest impact on their teaching, U.S. teachers found school environment (traditional versus progressive) and student perception of word problems as influential on their instruction. The role of culture on teaching and learning word problems was observed in regard to teacher centered versus student-centered instruction, teacher versus student role, and student engagement. Study findings also indicated that cross-examination of teaching promotes teachers’ reflection on their own practices and, thus, should be encouraged and promoted across STEM disciplines and throughout a teaching career. Implications and recommendations for future research, curriculum developers, and mathematics teachers are discussed.
Identifier: FA00004193 (IID)
Degree granted: Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2014.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Includes bibliography.
Subject(s): Educational tests and measurements
Mathematics -- Study and teaching -- Cross cultural studies
Word problems (Mathematics) -- Study and teaching -- Turkey
Word problems (Mathematics) -- Study and teaching -- United States
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Sublocation: Digital Library
Links: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00004193
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00004193
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author, with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
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Owner Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.