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

What is metacognition?

The term metacognition was first introduced to indicate the process of “thinking about thinking”. Since then the concept has been elaborated and refined, although the main definition has broadly remained the same. Metacognition is now recognised to have two main components: “knowledge of cognition” (declarative, procedural and conditional knowledge), and the more important “regulation of cognition” (planning, monitoring, control and reflection). Basic metacognitive skills appear to start to develop in very young children and grow in sophistication with age and intellectual development. It is not yet clear how far metacognitive abilities in one domain can be transferred into another, but there is a strong relationship between metacognition and schooling outcomes with implications for educators, researchers and policy makers.


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