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Optimistic problem-solving activity: enacting confidence, persistence, and perseverance

journal contribution
posted on 2014-07-01, 00:00 authored by Gaynor Williams
Optimism supports creative mathematical problem-solving. To elaborate its nature, empirical data were analyzed to identify relationships between optimism and more commonly researched constructs, confidence, and persistence. To do so, theoretical links between these constructs were first explored. Theoretically, confidence and persistence were found to be mutually exclusive personal characteristics possessed by optimistic students. Then, five elementary school students were purposefully selected from a broader longitudinal video-stimulated interview study of the role of optimism in collaborative problem-solving to find whether all combinations of confidence and persistence existed. Activity of students possessing different combinations of confidence and persistence was analyzed to determine whether there were differences in their problem-solving activity. Perseverance emerged as a third mutually exclusive characteristic within optimism. By distinguishing between persistence and perseverance, the crucial nature of perseverance in creative mathematical thinking was illuminated. These findings should inform teachers, teacher educators, and researchers interested in building optimism to increase problem-solving capacity.

History

Journal

ZDM

Volume

46

Issue

3

Pagination

407 - 422

Publisher

Springer

Location

Heidelberg, Germany

ISSN

1863-9690

eISSN

1863-9704

Language

Eng

Grant ID

0986955

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2014, Springer

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