HomeThe Asia-Pacific Education Researchervol. 13 no. 1 (2004)

An Exploratory Study of Filipino Children's Concepts of Division and their Strategies in Solving Division Problems

Catherine P. Vistro-yu

Discipline: Education



The following study explores how Filipino children understand division and how they solve division problems. Forty-eight primary school children from three different types of schools were given two division word problems and two computational problems on division using a paper-and-pencil format during individual problem solving sessions. Interviews were conducted after the problem solving session for students to explain their solutions and for the researcher to determine their concepts about division. Background data on the kind of instruction the students have received were obtained from their mathematics teachers through interviews or a questionnaire. Children’s solution strategies were classified following Kouba s (1989) and Mulligan s and Mitchelmore's (1997) categorizations. Using the theory of how children's informal concepts about division relate to or influence their strategies in solving division problems as discussed by Kouba (1989), results showed that Filipino children do hold significant concepts and a few misconceptions about division even prior to formal instruction on division. Moreover, the study showed that Filipino children are capable of solving division problems using a variety of methods. Results also showed, however, that instructional emphases on the use of long division algorithm hamper students' creativity in solving division problems. The study presents strong implications for improving mathematics instruction at the elementary level.