The Role of Teachers’ Instructional Moves on Students’ Problem-Solving Skills: A Discourse Analysis of Mathematics Lessons in the USA and Tanzania

Mjege Kinyota


The role of instructional moves in fostering students’ problem-solving skills is well documented. Hence, this study analysed a videotaped interaction of four high school students from one school in the USA solving an ill-structured mathematical problem under teachers’ guidance. Furthermore, five students from one school in Tanzania solved the same problem while their teachers were allowed to observe, after which they were interviewed. Findings indicated that non-judgmental teachers’ instructional moves that requested for students’ explanation, clarification and justification were key to providing scaffolds that helped students during problem solving. Additionally, although Tanzanian teachers perceived several challenges, they had positive opinions regarding ill-structured problems, collaborative problem solving and use of video for reflective practices. Finally, policy and practical implications for mathematics education in Tanzania are discussed.

Keywords: collaborative problem solving, ill-structured problems, instructional design, mathematics education,

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