University of Oulu

Palkki, R., Hästö, P. (2019) Mathematics teachers’ reasons to use (or not) intentional errors, 16 (2), 263-282. doi:10.5485/TMCS.2018.0453

Mathematics teachers’ reasons to use (or not) intentional errors

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Author: Palkki, Riikka1; Hästö, Peter2,1
Organizations: 1Department of Mathematics, FI-90014 University of Oulu, Finland
2Department of Mathematics and Statistics, FI-20014 University of Turku, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: University of Debrecen, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-04-10


Mathematics teachers can make use of both spontaneously arising and intentionally planted errors. Open questions about both types of errors were answered by 23 Finnish middle-school teachers. Their reasons to use or not to use errors were analyzed qualitatively. Seven categories were found: Activation and discussion, Analyzing skills, Correcting misconceptions, Learning to live with errors, (Mis)remembering errors, (Mis)understanding error and Time. Compared to earlier results, the teachers placed substantially less emphasis on affective issues, whereas the answers yielded new distinctions in cognitive dimensions. In particular, teachers’ inclination to see errors as distractions could be divided into two aspects: students misunderstanding an error in the first place or student forgetting that an error was erroneous. Furthermore, the content analysis revealed generally positive beliefs towards using errors but some reservations about using intentional errors. Teachers viewed intentional errors mainly positively as possibilities for discussion, analysis and learning to live with mistakes.

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Series: Teaching mathematics and computer science
ISSN: 1589-7389
ISSN-L: 1589-7389
Volume: 16
Issue: 2
Pages: 263 - 282
DOI: 10.5485/TMCS.2018.0453
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
111 Mathematics
Copyright information: © 2018 by University of Debrecen. This is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access.