Relationship between problem solving and motivation in mathematics: A qualitative study on how problem solving influences pupils' motivation in mathematics.
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The school’s youth is our future. Therefore, it is important that school encourages the pupils to use their full potential. To do this, teachers need to make their pupils like to be at school, and to see schoolwork as something useful for their future. An important task for a teacher is to motivate their pupils in such way that they become willing to learn. This is a qualitative case study that examines how problem solving tasks can influence pupils’ motivation for mathematics, through observing the challenges and opportunities that pupils meet when dealing with this kind of tasks. The study has been conducted in a ninth class at a lower secondary school in western Norway and is based on systematic data collection of both video and audio recordings of the teaching. The empirical material consists of semi-structured interviews with the teacher and the pupils, as well as observation in the classroom. The result of this study shows that variation and challenges in the lessons are important for obtaining more motivation among pupils. Problem solving tasks give the pupils great opportunities to discuss strategies and to reason together to find solutions. In this master’s thesis I have come to the conclusion that through trying and failing, and then experiencing control when solving different problems together, pupils’ motivation to learn more may be increased.
Master's thesis in Didactics of mathematics for primary school