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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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The effects of metacognitive pedagogies on social and emotional skills

Emotion and cognition are inextricably linked in the brain. Social skills are essential to the process of learning and the evidence shows that metacognitive interventions designed to improve cognitive achievement can have a beneficial impact on affective factors such as motivation or anxiety. In addition, metacognitive methodologies can be adapted to promote social-emotional competencies among kindergarten pupils, primary and secondary school students, and adults. Combining the two approaches has an even greater impact on both social-emotional and cognitive achievements than either one on its own. Interventions that focus only on motivation or only on cognitive-metacognitive competencies are more effective than traditional instruction, but less effective than focusing on both motivation and metacognition.

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