Cabinetmakers’ Workplace Mathematics and Problem Solving
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This study explored what kind of mathematics is needed in cabinetmakers’ everyday work and how problem solving is intertwined in it. The informants of the study were four Finnish cabinetmakers and the data consisted of workshop observations, interviews, photos, pictures and sketches made by the participants during the interviews. The data was analysed using different qualitative techniques. Even though the participants identified many areas of mathematics that could be used in their daily work, they used mathematics only if they were able to. The cabinetmakers’ different mathematical skills and knowledge were utilized to their skill limit. Cabinetmakers were found to constantly face problem solving situations along with the creative processes. Being able to use more advanced mathematics helped them to solve those problems more efficiently, without wasting time and materials. Based on the findings, the paper discusses the similarities and differences between problem solving and creative processes. It is suggested that the combination of craftsmanship, creativity, and efficient problem solving skills together with more than basic mathematical knowledge will help cabinetmakers in adapting and surviving in future unstable labour markets.
KeywordsWorkplace mathematics Problem solving Creative process Jigs Cabinetmakers
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