Directorate for Education and Skills

Critical Maths for Innovative Societies

The Role of Metacognitive Pedagogies

Published on October 28, 2014

Also available in: Spanish


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.


Foreword and Acknowledgements
Acronyms and abbreviations
Executive summary
Mathematics education and problem-solving skills in innovative societies
What is metacognition?
Metacognitive pedagogies
Metacognitive pedagogies in mathematics education
The effects of metacognitive instruction on achievement
The effects of metacognitive pedagogies on social and emotional skills
Combining technology and metacognitive processes to promote learning
Metacognitive programmes for teacher training
Looking backwards: Summary and conclusion
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