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  • "How to be well-connected?" An example for instructional process planning with Problem Graphs

    Teachers’ design capacity at work is in the focus of didactical research worldwide, and fostering this capacity is unarguably a possible turning point in the conveyance of mathematical knowledge. In Hungary, the tradition hallmarked by Tamás Varga is particularly demanding towards teachers as they are supposed to be able to plan their long-term processes very carefully. In this contribution, an extensive teaching material designed in the spirit of this tradition will be presented from the field of Geometry. For exposing its inner structure, a representational tool, the Problem Graph is introduced. The paper aims to demonstrate that this tool has potential for analyzing existing resources, helping teachers to reflect on their own preparatory and classroom work, and supporting the creation of new designs.

    Subject Classification: 97D40, 97D50, 97D80, 97G10, 97U30

  • Guided Discovery in Hungarian Education Using Problem Threads: The Pósa Method in Secondary Mathematics Classrooms

    In Hungary, ‘guided discovery’ refers to instruction in which students learn mathematical concepts through task sequences that foster mathematical thinking. A prominent figure of guided discovery is Lajos Pósa, who developed his method to teach gifted students. Rather than teaching mathematics through thematic blocks, the Pósa Method employs webs of interconnected problem threads in which problems are built on each other, and different threads are presented simultaneously, so that students work on problems from multiple threads at the same time. It was found that this method has been successful as extracurricular training for gifted students since the 1980s; however since 2017, as part of an ongoing research, the method has been applied to mainstream curriculum in two public secondary school classrooms. The present paper examines the design and implementation processes of problem threads in this public secondary school context.

    Subject Classification: 97D40

  • Looking back on Pólya’s teaching of problem solving

    This article is a personal reflection on Pólya's work on problem solving, supported by a re-reading of some of his books and viewing his film Let Us Teach Guessing. Pólya's work has had lasting impact on the goals of school mathematics, especially in establishing solving problems (including non-routine problems) as a major goal and in establishing the elements of how to teach for problem solving. His work demonstrated the importance of choosing rich problems for students to explore, equipping them with some heuristic strategies and metacognitive awareness of the problem solving process, and promoting 'looking back' as a way of learning from the problem solving experience. The ideas are all still influential. What has changed most is the nature of classrooms, with the subsequent appreciation of a supporting yet challenging classroom where students work collaboratively and play an active role in classroom discussion.

    Subject Classification: 97D50, 97A30