Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 40 credits / 60 HE credits
Although Mathematics is seen as one of the most important knowledge and school subject, it is believed that math teaching in school is very much of abstract nature and does not promote critical and analytical thinking skills.
I was supposed to do a research about problem solving approaches in afghan schools, in Kabul city. So three points were very important to know: teachers’ points of view about mathematic knowledge and problem solving approaches, teachers practice while they teach problems in their classes, and mathematics examples and their solutions in text books. I made three tools: questionnaire, structured observation and table for analyzing the books and I use them relatively for each aforementioned purpose. Views of 100 teachers (from 16 schools in Kabul, half female and half male teachers) through questionnaire; observing math teaching of five teachers teaching in classrooms (out of the 100 ); and identifying problem solving approaches in math text book of grade 7 were the main data.
It was found that most of the teachers think that mathematic is a way that promotes students’ problem solving ability and their critical thinking beyond mathematics. While observing teachers’ classes it was seen that they teach mathematics as an abstract.. On the other hand, they used problem solving approaches in a very weak level. Moreover the newly revised books contain examples that were solved directly by implementing the formula and most of the examples were mathematics examples not in other subject.
Generally one can say that the teachers know about the value of mathematics to some extent, but they do not implement in their teaching. It means that they teach and follow what they see in the book and they do not use other material beside text book.
Finally, the main reason behind the problems that could be seen in teaching and learning mathematics is in teaching methods and in the examples on the books.In spite of differences between teaching practices and views on math, it is promising that teachers’ express about importance of mathematics as well as of problem solving approaches to math teaching. These findings require further studies revealing the roots of the real problems of math teaching and learning.