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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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Mathematics education and problem-solving skills in innovative societies

Problem solving is at the core of all mathematics education. The solution of complex, unfamiliar and non-routine (CUN) problems has to be the cornerstone of any effective learning environment for mathematics for the 21st century. While students solving routine problems can rely on memorisation, solving CUN problems requires mathematical skills that include not just logic and deduction but also intuition, number sense and inference. Innovative societies require creativity in mathematics as well as in other domains. The approach to mathematical communication has also changed, with students in all age groups being encouraged to engage in mathematical discourse and share ideas and solutions as well as explaining their own thinking. Developing these competencies may result in enhancing social skills as well as mathematically literate citizens.

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