The Effect of Some Constraints on Mathematics Instructors’ Problem Solving Practices: Universities in Amhara Region in Focus
This study was designed to examine the effect of perceived constraints on four universities mathematics department instructors’ classroom practices of problem solving in teaching mathematics. To this end, the target population of the study includes mathematics instructors in the Amhara Regional state universities. From a total of seven functioning universities, four universities were selected using simple random sampling technique. The four universities’ respective mathematics departments were selected using purposive sampling techniques. Then, all mathematics instructors of the four universities selected using comprehensive sampling technique were samples of this
study. Five mathematics instructors from each of the four universities were selected using simple random sampling technique for classroom observation and similarly three instrctors from each of the sample universities were selected using simple random sampling technique for interviewing. Questionnaire, classroom observation, and semi structured interviews were used as the basic instruments for collecting data. The quantitative data were analysed using one sample t-test whereas the qualitative one was analysed using narration.The findings showed that teachers have claimed to have adequate experience concerning problem-solving teaching in mathematics. This further shows that teachers possess the theories and their application of indirect instruction, organzing mathematics lessons, classroom management using assessment techniques. Teachers have also explained that the training has helped them to relate it with their actual teaching strategies, to organize their lessons into problem-solving approach, to manage the classroom and to align assessment techniques in line with problem-solving approach. In spite of the presence of constraints in implementing problem- solving method at an average level, their obstruction effect was not significant. The findings also implied that there are opportunities to implement problem-solving approach in mathematics in the universities to the expected level. In spite of the existence of opportunities at an adequate level, their extent of availability was found insignificant. In relation to the findings of the study, recommendations are forwarded.