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The effective ways to improve problem solving skill in Mathematics

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It cannot be denied that problem solving is an important part of Mathematics education. Mathematics, in general, is an important subject because of its practical role to a person and the society as a whole. However, before a pupil can successfully solve a problem, he has to possess good reading comprehension, analytic and computational skills.

Problem Solving in Mathematics and Reading Comprehension go hand in hand. Solving Math problems entails or requires the pupils to do or apply two skills at the same time- reading and computing. It is two – edged sword which the pupil should conquer, so to speak.

It’s important to realize that being a problem solver isn’t just ability; it’s a whole mind-set, one that drives people to bring out the best in themselves and to shape the world in a positive way. Rather than accepting the status quo, true problem solvers are constantly trying to proactively shape their environment.

Problem solving, as used in mathematics education literature, refers to the process wherein pupils encounter a problem – a question for which they have no immediately apparent resolution, nor an algorithm that they can directly apply to get an answer (Schoenfeld, 1992). They must then read the problem carefully, analyze it for whatever information it has, and examine their own mathematical knowledge to see if they can come up with a strategy that will help them find a solution. It is being emphasized that in order one can solve problem solving; a pupil must be a reader.

In order a pupil be better in solving word problem, the following should take consideration;

a. Teacher should provide unlocking of difficulties through vocabulary development before the beginning of the Math class.

b. Teacher must establish a tutor-tutee relationship wherein a good pupil tutors or teaches a slow classmate assigned to him/her in areas of reading comprehension and problem solving.

c. Should provide interesting and challenging vocabulary activities involving Mathematics vocabulary such as in contests and games.

d. Teacher should organize the given information found in the problem.

e. Use object representation and manipulative to picture clearly the given Math Problem.

f. Substitute large numbers by simpler numbers or restate the problem in much simpler terms through improved reading comprehension.

g. Make a number sentence out of the word problem.

h.  Use the “trial and error” method of the “guess and check”. (Michael Q. Tuayon
Teacher – II -
Lugakit Elementary School)




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