Critical Maths for Innovative Societies

The Role of Metacognitive Pedagogies

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How can mathematics education foster the skills that are appropriate for innovative societies? Mathematics education is heavily emphasised worldwide, nevertheless it is still considered to be a stumbling block for many students. While there is almost a consensus that mathematics problems appropriate for the 21st century should be complex, unfamiliar and non-routine (CUN), most of the textbooks still mainly include routine problems based on the application of ready-made algorithms.

The time has come to introduce innovative instructional methods in order to enhance mathematics education and students’ ability to solve CUN tasks. Metacognitive pedagogies can play a key role in this. These pedagogies explicitly train students to “think about their thinking” during learning. They can be used to improve not just academic achievement (content knowledge and understanding, the ability to handle unfamiliar problems etc.) but also affective outcomes such as reduced anxiety or improved motivation. This strong relationship between metacognition and schooling outcomes has implications for the education community and policy makers.

This book is designed to assist practitioners, curriculum developers and policy makers alike in preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s world.

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Combining technology and metacognitive processes to promote learning

Information and communications technology (ICT) could be a powerful tool for teaching mathematics, and particularly the solving of CUN tasks, but its potential has not always been fulfilled, possibly because 1) ICT-enhanced learning environments create cognitive overload; 2) meaningful learning with ICT depends on students being able to monitor, control and reflect on their learning; and 3) the type of metacognitive scaffolding provided in these environments needs to be tailored to the characteristics of the individual technologies. This chapter focuses on three kinds of ICT environments embedded within metacognitive pedagogies: specific maths software, general e-communication tools such as asynchronous learning networks, and general software such as e-books. Some of them are still in their infancy but they all appear to benefit from the addition of metacognitive scaffolding whether embedded into the technology itself or provided externally by a teacher.



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