Many teachers of Computer Science, Information Technology, Programming and of other subjects related to the area of computing usually experience difficulties when explaining the notions and concepts which are of an abstract character rather than belonging to the natural world or tangible in everyday life but need to be explained since they are essential for a student’s understanding of the subject matter. Recursion qualifies as one of such concepts. It is most frequently taught via different mathematically-logical examples, such as the Fibonacci sequence of numbers and factorial numbers.
The theoretical part of the following master thesis establishes the notion and concept of recursion by means of presenting various definitions by several authors from the pedagogical area, the area of computer science and that of programming. The mental model of recursion, which students develop while studying recursion, will also be established. The advantages and drawbacks of recursion will be described. Moreover, some examples of teaching recursion by means of using mathematical and non-mathematical approaches will be established and presented.
In the empirical part of the thesis two different approaches to teaching recursion in two different groups of grammar school programme students will be tested. The second group will test the teaching of recursion through the use of words or sequences of signs, the first group, however, will test the mathematical approach with standard mathematical examples. The efficiency of both the approaches will eventually be assessed using the quantitative method.
Additionally, a few selected students will be interviewed. They will be asked to pass their opinions on how efficient the teaching approach they experienced was.