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Problem-Solving in Mathematics

A Semiotic Perspective for Educators and Teachers


Marcel Danesi

Problem-solving in mathematics is seen by many students as a struggle. Since the capacity to count and understand basic arithmetical concepts (adding, taking away, etc.) is innate and emerges effortlessly in childhood, why does this negative perception and fear of problem-solving exist? This book counteracts this perception by providing a semiotic analysis of problem-solving and, from this analysis, constructing a pedagogical framework for teaching problem-solving that is consistent with the psychology of how humans learn to use signs and symbols. It is based on an experimental math course designed to impart fluency in problem-solving through semiotic training. The positive results of that course inspired the writing of this book.