Education nowadays has been criticized by different area and educators try to reform the ways of teaching and learning (Kirkley, 2003). Problem Solving defines as step to reaching the goal or desire state from where we are now ( Medin, Ross & Markman, 2004). Kirkly (2003) stated that learner nowadays are short of basic literacy skill and higher order thinking. Basic literary skill is important to learn problem solving largely depend on basic literary skill ( Kirkly). If a learner cannot master basic literacy skill, things that able to represent will be less. As the rising of technology, higher problem solving skill on mathematics and science are needed.
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They found that students who not able to master literacy skills and cannot not learn and develop higher ordering skills and problem solving ( Kirkly, 2003). Problem solving that mainly can be found while study mathematics. However, Baron (2012) found that a lot of students face the difficulty to pass the test math no matter how much of tutoring, extra classes had given. In addition, not only college students face this kind of problem, children also face similar problem. Types of math problem that face by children is word math problem. Word math problem is type of math that uses English word to explain the question instead of using the equation to explain the questions that need students to be solved.
As a teacher, they ways those mathematics teachers teach the next generation also one of the problem that need to discuss. In the old days, teacher only can provide few ways to teach student to solve the math problem. However, not all students have the skill to absorb teaching style on providing information, guideline to solve the question. Moreover, teacher style on teaching students in the few past decade may not be efficient or work on current generation.
When a person learn how to solve a particular modal, it will become as a short cut as the person only need to remember the process of solving the problem from the beginning, it only apply on the similar problem that solve before( Kirkly,2003). One of the model that explain problem solving process is when individual doing a problem solving, their cognitive will start by representing the problem then do a solution search, finally implement the solution (Gick, 1986 as cited in Kirkly,2003). If a person successfully find a solution, their cognitive will stop there, conversely, they will redo the step searching solution and representing the problem if they fail to find the solution (Kirkly).When a similar problem is presented, it become “short cut” as a person cognitive will be able to recall and implement the solution by remembering how they solved similar problem before.
Problem solving require a lot of abstract representation that the reason we need to master basic literacy skill. For example, when a learner trying solved a word math problem, learner need to understand the meaning of the word such as increase, product of, less than, equally pieces and others. Then they need to transfer into mathematics symbol and form an equation form to solve the problem. However, human cognitive not able to hold too much representation at the same time and human only able to remember three to seven items ( Medin et al., 2004).
Different types of mathematics problem use different types of problem solving method. Types of problem solving method can categorized at algorithm and heuristics. Heuristic have three ways which is using hill climbing, mean ends analysis and working (Medin et al., 2004). For example, a mathematics question that asks how much plus three will be ten? A younger child might use algorithm technique test all the number in order to find the correct answer. As for older child, the will likely use working backward method to find the answer.
There are a lot of solution that can be found in educations field. For example, teachers will let provide a lot of similar problem to let their learner or students to solve and in the end create”short cut” thinking. By this students will notice the similarity of each problem and able to transfer their skills. This solution can be found in teaching mathematics skill.
Students math textbook present a lot of solution to student as an example to solve the similar problem but broader schema that expert are actually use is not available to student (McAllister, 1995). Student don’t know which and how is the appropriate first step to do when they faced a problem (McAllister,).Teacher who use explicit translation strategy (ETS ) found to be effective in solving math word problem (INQUIRE, 2008). Explicit translation strategy is “to teach students how to translate concrete problem into mathematical equation”(INQUIRE, 2008). Research also found that students who teach using the ETS and receive extra learning lesson are able to perform better than other group in the math problem solving that held two weeks later (Darch, Carnine & Gersten, 1984).
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As stated above, students who want to develop problem solving skills need to master basic literacy skills well (Kirkly, 2003). Therefore students need to keep practice different types mathematics problem regularly. Then, students should be teaches by teacher who are expect, more important teachers should be able to provide different method to solve a problem and more complicate example when students able to solve basic mathematical problem. Extra learning material should be given to help students to learn the ability to transform the skill that students learn from other problem. Severin(2007) found students who be given change to learn different type of problem solving strategies able to help student to solve others problem.
Technology item also can be use to helps teacher and student improves their problem solving a ability. Teacher can create a learning site and provide different types of fun, stories problem solving question to attract their interest and provide them change to do trial and error while they playing problem solving game while learning. This is because how much a student put effort while doing a math problem will have an effect on their success rate (Severin, 2007).
In addition we also can use computer technology to help us in teaching because technology make easier for students to access more information. In the days that computer still not able to own by every family, information on solving a math problem only depend on the knowledge of the teacher. Now, students can asses and absorb more and more idea to solve a math problem.
Conclusion, problem solving can be use in different field. By knowing how to teach and learn are the key to teach students and children to develop their problem solving better in the future.
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