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.

English Also available in: Spanish

The effects of metacognitive instruction on achievement

Understanding the rationale behind a teaching method and accepting the assumptions on which it is based are not enough. Policy makers, educators and even the public at large look for evidence on its effects on the one hand, and on its drawbacks on the other. A large number of experimental and quasi-experimental studies have been carried out into the effects of metacognitive pedagogies on mathematics achievement, always comparing the metacognitive group to a control group that was taught traditionally. Among school children of all ages, metacognitive approaches improve achievement in arithmetic, algebra and geometry, with lasting effects, and positive effects even in high-stakes situations such as matriculation exams. Effects are similar but smaller for college students. Metacognitive approaches were mostly more effective within co-operative settings, although they also improved achievement among individualised settings.



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