Archive for February 16th, 2020

Word Problems are a Distinct Genre

Posted on February 16, 2020. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Several researchers have argued that math texts are a distinct genre and that students have to learn how to unpack that type of genre (Winograd and Higgins 1994/1995; Kang & Pham, 1995; Irujo, 2007). Spanos (1993) discusses how even though they are called “story problems” they lack the traditional storytelling devices.  We have to help students to understand the genre.  We should teach it, building on what we  already know about teaching genres.

Students can get so bogged down in the language of the problem that there is a “suspension of sensemaking (Verschaffel, Greer, & de Corte, 2000)..”  Sometimes students are victims of bad word problems that not realistic but “styled representations of hypothetical experiences (Lave, 1992).”

I also think we have to approach word problem presentation in a different way. I am very excited about the possibilities of 3-act tasks, numberless word problems, 3 read problems and picture prompt word problems.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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