Metacognition in Educational Theory and Practice

By Douglas J. Hacker; John Dunlosky et al. | Go to book overview

4
Metacognition in Mathematics From a Constructivist Perspective

Martha Carr Barry Biddlecomb University of Georgia

Our goal is to discuss how the research on metacognition in mathematics can be interpreted from the perspective of constructivist theory. Much of what we present in this chapter is speculative in that very little theory or research has examined conscious reflection from a constructivist perspective. First, we discuss issues central to the development of metacognition and its relationship to problem solving. We then discuss the extant literature on metacognition in mathematics, specifically focusing on strategy knowledge and metacognitive awareness. We end with a discussion about how metacognition may be conceptualized from the perspective of radical constructivism and social constructivism, and focus on the potential implications of constructivist theory for the instruction of metacognition in mathematics.

Metacognition is multifaceted in that it includes knowledge about strategies, tasks, and the self as well as the skills to evaluate strategies ( Flavell, 1978). Although we know that as children get older they gradually develop more metacognitive knowledge ( Schneider & Pressley, 1989), we know little about how this knowledge is acquired. We know little as well about the relationships between developing higher level thinking skills and emerging domain-specific cognitive structures. This is primarily because metacognitive theory has not focused on how metacognitive processes develop with age.

Despite the neo-Piagetian framework used in much of the mathematics research today, research on metacognition within the domain of mathemat-

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