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Mathematics Education

Exploring Mathematics, exploring Würzburg


Einblicke von Prof. Dr. Putra in seinen Forschungsaufenthalt am Lehrstuhl für Didaktik der Mathematik.

Verabschiedung Prof. Putra (Image: Sagheer Ahmad)

Prof. Dr. Zetra Hainul Putra von der Universität Riau, Indonesien, hat Ende November seinen wissenschaftlichen Aufenthalt in Würzburg erfolgreich beendet. Fast drei Monate hat er hierfür am Lehrstuhl für Mathematik V – Didaktik der Mathematik geforscht. In einem kurzen Interview teilt er seine Erkenntnisse und Erfahrungen während seines Aufenthalts.



Why did you choose Würzburg as the destination of your research stay?

In 2016, I participated in the Würzburg Spring School in Mathematics Education organized by Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Weigand [Vorgänger von Prof. Siller als Lehrstuhlinhaber; Anm. d. Red.]. Although I only spent a week in Würzburg, I liked the city as well as the institution. I know that the Chair of Mathematics Education is strong regarding technology in mathematics education, and in the last three years I have focused my study at this topic. I contacted Prof. Dr. Weigand via e-mail and asked if I could come and collaborate with him, and he recommended Prof. Dr. Hans-Stefan Siller to work with me in that area. 

How did you get to know Würzburg – the city and the university – during your stay?

Since I have been here before, I know a little bit about the city and the university. For the first week, Sagheer, a Ph.D. student at the chair, accompanied me to go around the city to find some Asian foods. Besides, I love exploring the city by walking to the city center and also around the campus. The neighborhoods are very nice and there are so many parks and gardens to be visited.

Where exactly are you from (in Indonesia)? What differences between Würzburg and your hometown did you notice in everyday life? Will you miss anything from Würzburg?

I am from Pekanbaru, the capital city of the Riau Province, on the Sumatra Island. It is close to Malaysia and Singapore. The main difference is the weather. I would like to say that it is always summer in Pekanbaru, and here I can feel four different seasons. Besides, the public transportation here is very good, and in my city, you must go by motorbike and it is not so safe to walk around the city. What I really miss is my family, especially my kids. I believe that they would be very happy and enjoy staying in Würzburg because they could go and play in many playgrounds here. 

How did you deal with the difficulties in everyday life in Würzburg that you might have if you're not from here?

Honestly, I did not find such big difficulties during my stay in Würzburg, probably because I had some experience living in Europe a long time ago. A little difficulty is probably finding the best price for renting a room or an apartment. Although I receive a grant from the Indonesian government, the grant is not enough to cover all expenditures to have a better life in Germany. However, I can still manage it by cooking and bringing my food for lunch and also for dinner.

How do students learn maths at school in Indonesia? Can you describe differences between Germany and Indonesia?

In many schools in Indonesia, students still learn mathematics based on the mechanistic approach. The teachers first explain the procedural techniques to solve the tasks, give some examples to the students, and then ask them to do some exercises. I think it might be different from Germany, where the students may learn the concept through logical thinking and reasoning. However, the government has already tried to deal with this situation by changing the curriculum to have a better instructional learning to teach mathematics to students, especially at elementary school levels.

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