Mathematics, mastery and metacognition: how adding a creative approach can support children in maths

Bonnett, Victoria, Yuill, Nicola and Carr, Amanda (2017) Mathematics, mastery and metacognition: how adding a creative approach can support children in maths. Educational and Child Psychology, 34 (1). pp. 83-93. ISSN 0267-1611

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Background: Children who hold an incremental view of ability show greater perseverance, improved
help-seeking skills and are better able to cope with unexpected challenges. Classroom instruction can
influence how children view themselves as learners.
Aim: To explore how mastery-orientated classroom instruction, collaborative learning and metacognitive
reflection can foster learners’ attitudes to their task performance. We hypothesised that using a mastery-oriented
approach within a mathematics curriculum encourages metacognition, improves motivation and helps
children achieve an underlying understanding of mathematical concepts thus improving mathematics
Method: This paper reports an 11-week project aiming to embed problem-solving strategies within
a mastery-oriented whole-class environment. Children completed pre- and post-task semi-structured
interviews and maths problems in addition to the 11-week collaborative maths project. Participants were 24
children from a rural primary school in East Sussex, 12 boys and 12 girls (mean age 8 years and 9 months).
The interviews are presented qualitatively and a repeated measures analysis of variance on mathematics
motivation and performance was conducted.
Findings: The learners showed increased metacognitive reflection on learning strategies as well as increases
in girls’ motivation for mathematics.
Limitations: This is a small sample size and, being conducted within a typical everyday classroom, there
were several uncontrolled variables. Although change was evident in both attitude and maths scores, it was
difficult to apportion added value to the different variables contributing to the change in maths scores.
Conclusions: Challenging children perceptions of mathematics encouraged greater self-reflection and
increased motivation for girls.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Ellena Adams
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2017 15:07
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 18:45

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