Exploring intentions to teach mathematical problem solving: An application of the Theory of Planned Behaviour

Dean Robson, Prince Hamidu Armah* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the beliefs underlying teachers’ decision-making regarding teaching Mathematical Problem Solving (MPS), from the perspective of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB). 375 primary teachers drawn from 50 schools in a large, mainly urban local authority in Ghana, completed a questionnaire assessing the direct TPB measures of attitudinal beliefs (positive/negative consequences), normative beliefs (approving/disapproving significant others), control beliefs (easy/difficult circumstances) and intentions in relation to teaching MPS. In the follow up qualitative phase, six semi-structured teacher interviews were conducted to further explore the quantitative findings. The merged results revealed that teachers’ intentions to teach MPS were influenced by their attitudinal beliefs towards teaching MPS (e.g. stimulate critical thinking, apply mathematics to everyday contexts), their perceptions and actions of important others (e.g. education authorities, pupils and parents), and some perceived control difficulties (e.g. lack of instructional resources and time availability). The results identified both attitudinal and control beliefs as the main determinants of teacher intentions to teach MPS. These findings highlight the key beliefs to target in developing the capacity of schools to support mathematics teachers’ willingness to implement curriculum reform imperatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-133
Number of pages17
JournalAfrican Journal of Educational Studies in Mathematics and Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Study Acknowledgements: This research received financial support from the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), a
public sector educational financing agency for the promotion of research, especially at the tertiary
level in Ghana. For this support we are most grateful.


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