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Comparative Multiple Case Study into the Teaching of Problem-Solving Competence in Lebanese Middle Schools

ABOULEBDE, DIANA (2023) Comparative Multiple Case Study into the Teaching of Problem-Solving Competence in Lebanese Middle Schools. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This multiple case study investigates how problem-solving competence is integrated into teaching practices in private schools in Lebanon. Its purpose is to compare instructional approaches to problem-solving across three different programs: the American (Common Core State Standards and New Generation Science Standards), French (Socle Commun de Connaissances, de Compétences et de Culture), and Lebanese with a focus on middle school (grades 7, 8, and 9). The project was conducted in nine schools equally distributed among three categories based on the programs they offered: category 1 schools offered the Lebanese program, category 2 the French and Lebanese programs, and category 3 the American and Lebanese programs. Each school was treated as a separate case.

Structured observation data were collected using observation logs that focused on lesson objectives and specific cognitive problem-solving processes. The two logs were created based on a document review of the requirements for the three programs. Structured observations were followed by semi-structured interviews that were conducted to explore teachers' beliefs and understandings of problem-solving competence. The comparative analysis of within-category structured observations revealed an instruction ranging from teacher-led practices, particularly in category 1 schools, to more student-centered approaches in categories 2 and 3. The cross-category analysis showed a reliance on cognitive processes primarily promoting exploration, understanding, and demonstrating understanding, with less emphasis on planning and executing, monitoring and reflecting, thus uncovering a weakness in addressing these processes. The findings of the post-observation semi-structured interviews disclosed a range of definitions of problem-solving competence prevalent amongst teachers with clear divergences across the three school categories.

This research is unique in that it compares problem-solving teaching approaches across three different programs and explores underlying teachers' beliefs and understandings of problem-solving competence in the Lebanese context. It is hoped that this project will inform curriculum developers about future directions and much-anticipated reforms of the Lebanese program and practitioners about areas that need to be addressed to further improve the teaching of problem-solving competence.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Keywords:problem-solving competence; complex problem solving, cognitive problem-solving processes, complex task.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2023
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:19 Jul 2023 12:11

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