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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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Metacognitive programmes for teacher training

Teachers and principals have an important role in introducing change in schools. Given that “one cannot teach what one does not know”, teachers’ own metacognitive skills are increasingly being studied. Observations have shown that although teachers seldom explicitly activate metacognitive processes while teaching, they do apply them implicitly in the classroom. Their understanding of metacognition is related not only to their practice, but also to their students’ self-regulated learning and achievement. Professional development programmes are the natural settings for the introduction of innovative teaching methods. Studies into the effects of metacognitive pedagogies on both in-service and pre-service teachers have found they positively enhanced teachers’ knowledge, pedagogical-content knowledge (PCK), self-regulated learning (SRL) and self-efficacy, but these studies have not followed teachers into the classroom.

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