Direct Instruction and Metacognition for Mathematical Success for Middle Years and Secondary Students: Building and Evolving a Foundation of Knowledge and Understanding




Barnaby, Chayne

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Learning environment and instructional strategies are key components that build a mathematically successful learning experience. Direct instruction (i.e., traditional instruction) has been argued to provide a better foundation for learning when compared to more alternative methods such as discovery learning. Additionally, when direct instruction is tied to metacognitive strategies, it can increase the potential for learners to be successful. Recently in Alberta, a debate, colloquially referred to as the Math Wars, has focused on whether discovery learning - a learning approach supported by the provincial government - is working. The consensus that has emerged is that no, discovery learning is not working. The trend in Alberta math scores for grades 6 and 12 on provincial assessments has shown a decrease in achievement. It is noteworthy, that math scores in Alberta have dropped coincidently at a similar timing to Alberta’s adoption of discovery learning as the main instructional method. The purpose of this project is to review the empirical evidence of the benefits of using a direct instruction approach for teaching mathematics while tying in metacognitive strategies beneficial to helping learners build upon and use their knowledge foundation. This project will be important for any educator because it reviews key literature while at the same time offering suggestions on how teachers can help students achieve mathematical success.



Direct Instruction, Discovery Learning, Metacognitive skills, Math literacy, Mathematical competence, Critical thinking, Middle Year and Secondary Students