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South African Journal of Education Copyright © 2007 EASA Vo l 27(2 )223–241

Do mathematics learning facilitators implement metacognitive strategies?
M arth ie v an de r W alt and Kobus Maree
marthie.vanderwalt@ nwu.ac.za; kobus.maree @ up.ac.za It is widely accepte d th a t ma thematica l skills are critically important in our technologically s o ph is tic ate d w orl d. E du ca to rs ' me ta co gn itio n d ire cts , p l a n s , monito rs, evaluate s and reflects their inst ructional behavio ur and this can pro- mote lea rn er s ' lea rning w ith und ers tand ing. T he p urp os e of this stu dy was to inve s tigate the e xten t to which mathematics educa tors imple mente d and taught metacognit iv e strate gies . Res ults of the q uantitative p art of the stud y we re triangulated with the results of the qua lit ative part. Results suggeste d that whereas mathematics educa tors may well have posses s ed metacognitive skills and utilised the m intuitively, thes e s kills were not imple mented to a s atisfa ctory exte nt in the classes we observed .

Introduction Since mathe matics is gene rally accepted as a gatew ay subject ("enabling disci- p line") (Pando r, 200 6a:2) to te rtiary study , it can be d escribe d as a critica l mass in secondary education, and adequate learning facilitation in this sub- ject is of pivotal importance in any country. Even though South Afr ica (SA) spent R30 million on bursaries to take an Advanced Certificate in Education to ove r 4 000 mathematics, science and technology teachers between 2002 and 2005 at the end of 2006, the already alarmingly low pass rate in mathe- matics dropped even further, causin g Naledi Pandor (Minister of Education) to state categoric ally: "We will have to pay m uch clo ser atte ntion to p erfor- man ce in th es e su bje cts … W e ne e d to de te rm in e fo cu se d stra te gie s to im - pro ve le arning ou tcom es" (P and or, 2 00 6b :6). Fac ilitating m athe m atics le arning is not on ly a Sou th African pro ble m , it is a cau se o f con cern to co untr ies th rou gho ut the wo rld. The que stion may we ll be aske d w hy fo rm al sch ooling ca nnot g uarante e that le arners ac quire an ade quate level of m athem atical skill. Although it is well know n that mathe- matics plays a m ajor ro le in life and in the progress of countries in the twenty- first century ( Ba ll, Lubien ski & Me wb orn, 20 01), G rade s 9 and 12 le arners still discontinue their formal schooling without having acquired an interest or skill in math em atics. Ana lysis of the results of the Third International Mathe matics and Scien ce Study – Repeat (TIMSS-R) (Howie, 1999) show s that 27 % of the Sou th African learning facilitators (indirectly) involved in the study, had ne ver had form al training as m athem atics learning facilitators. Our purp ose was to describe steps taken to investigate the extent and na- ture of le arning facilitator s' m etac ogn itive (th inkin g) strate gies in mathe matics c la ss ro om s in the senior phase. We tried to answ er the que stion w heth er lear- ning facilitators actually applied metacognitive thinking strategies in mathe-


Van der Walt & Maree

m atics classroom s. W e be lieve d tha t m etac ogn itive str ateg ies co uld b e fac ili- tated succe ssfully fo r learners in m athem atics classroom s in South Africa (SA). W e hoped to enable greater understanding of the nature of metacog- nitio n and metacognitive strategies and skills, specifically as these conce p ts relate to teaching and learning of mathematics. In addition to explicating ways to help teache rs implem ent m etacognitive strategies and sk ills in their class- room s, we delineate the need to advance our theory base in the teaching and learning of m athem atics to one m ore appropriate. This question also alludes to investigating whether or not mathe matics teache rs actually possess m eta- cognitive skills the m selv es. F ollow ing this introduction, we focus on (a) the need for such research, (b) an analysis of what exactly the concept metacognition (and related conce pts) entails, (c) m isce llane ou s asp ects of m etac ogn i- tion and metacognitive skills and stra te gie s, (d ) o ur re se arc h d es ig n, (e ) so m e statistical data in so far as th ese we re rele vant for a report of this nature, and (g) in conclusion d is cu ss io n o f th e re su lts a nd pro vis io n o f m o tiv ate d re co m - mendations and suggestions for further research. Motivation for the research The Third International Mathematics and Science Study Repeat Survey (T IMMS -R) of worldwide trends in scholastic performance in mathematics and physical science (gatew ay subjects for tertiary educa tion) c onfirme d once again that Sou th African m athe m atics le arne rs' pe rform ance wa s sign ificantly poorer than th at of th e va st m ajority of o the r particip ating c ou ntrie s in the tests that measured basic mathematical skills (How ie , 200 1:18 ). South African learn ers strug gled to d ea l w ith wo rd pro ble m s and ex perience d great p ro ble m s with fractions an d sum s in wh ich geo m etry ha d to b e us ed to calculate area. In gene ral, learners e xpe rience d m any problems in commu- nicating their answers in the language of the test (English) and they gave in- dications that the y d id not have the basic mathematical knowledge required of Grade 8 learners. Moreover recent research has reve aled that the vast m ajority of G rade 6 le arne rs in t he We s tern Cap e in S ou th Afr ica (no rm ally one of the top achieving provinces in South Africa) have not even mastered the literacy and num eracy levels ex pecte d of G rade 4 learn ers (K assie m , 20 04 ). In our ex perience (both of us are vastly experienced in the field of mathe- matics teac hing ), learn ing fac ilitators rare ly, if ev er, d em ons trate d to the ir learners exactly what 'learning how to learn' means: the meaning of 'thinking about one's own thinking', and how to become a problem solver. Instead, the message sen t ou t con siste ntly has been the following: The best problem solver is the one w ho finds the 'right' answer according to the 'right' method first. It becam e clear to us that the vast majority of learners followed a 'recipe', with- out appro priate insig ht into the nature of problem solving. In fact many learne rs did not have the slightest idea what exa ctly it was that the y we re doing. To this day, 'learning how to learn' still does not form part of the Sou th A fric an sc ho ol cu rric ulu m .

Metacognitive strategies


D efin in g so m e c ritica l te rm s Metacognit ion Metacognition is defined as individuals' ability to adapt cognitive activities and understand be tter (B row n & Palins car, 1 98 2). Effective thinking, learning and learning facilitation require regular control, statement of purpose , re-assess- ment of what has bee n done or that which one is busy with, as we ll as assess- m en t of o utco m es (G rave lek & R aph ael, 1 98 5). Learn ing facilitators/learn ers w ho are metacognitively aware of the m sel- ves as lea rning facilitator s/le arne rs po sse ss strate gies to e stab lish w hat it is that they need to do whe n they are co nfronte d w ith non-routine assignme nts. The use of m etacognitive strategies act iv a te s learners' thought proce sses, thereby facilitating d e e p er learning and improved achieveme nts (Anderson, 200 2). S om e learning th eo reticians re gard the very essence of "me tacognition" as me tacognitive knowledge (static source of knowledge) and m etaco gnitive se lf- regulation (metacognition in action) (Ertmer & New by, 199 6). Metaco gnitive knowledge is frequently refined into person, task, an d strategy variables on the one hand and , on th e o the r hand , as de clarative , pro ced ural, an d co ndi- tional knowledge (Brown, 1980). Whereas metacognitive self-regulation is re- garded as the implementation of planning, monitoring and evaluating, me ta- cognitive kno wle dge and the se activ ities throughout are actively linked by reflection. Re flective thinking transforms the knowledge acquired during prob- lem-solving, afte r co m ple tio n o f th e as sig nm e nt/ pro ble m , into know ledge that is availab le fo r the ne xt ass ignm en t/pr ob lem (Ertm er & Ne wb y, 19 96 ). Learn ing fac ilitator For the pur p o se s o f this arti cle , th e t er m s 'le arn ing fac ilita to r' an d 'te ach er ', as we ll as 'teaching' and 'learn ing facilitating', are use d interch ange ably. Metacog nitive and co gnitive strategies Since each of these is involved in effective lea r n in g facilitation and learning, but has a distinctive and im portant function, Flavell (197 9) dra ws the fol- lowing distinction between 'cognitive' and 'metacog nitive' strategies: W hereas cognitive strategies are evoked to facilitate cognitive progress (execute the task ), metacognitive strategies are im plem ente d to m onitor, plan, control, and eva luate the ou tcom es a nd re flect th rou gho ut (F lave ll, 197 9). Brief literature overview In te rn at io n al liter at u re on m at h em at ics le ar n in g fac ilitatio n an d m et ac o g n itio n D ur in g the p as t two d ec ad es r es ear ch ers inte rnat io n ally ha ve m o ve d away from m ere inve stigatio n of le arning facilitator s’ con du ct (b ehavi ouristic

tive view on the learning facilitator) (Bro wn & Baird. 1993). The N ational Co unc il o f Te ac he rs of M a th em a tic s (N CTM .Van der Walt & Maree 226 view of the learn ing fac ilitator) to a stud y of le arning facilitator s 'cog nition s' (cogn i. indicated that problem-solving in m athe m atics sh ou ld be an im po rtant fo cus in mathe matics . for instance. 19 89 ).

the learning facilitator sho uld h ave a th o rou gh kno w. by default. me thods. and education m ed ia as ap plicab le to Sou th Afr ican co nditio ns. and view s on teac hing strate gie s and lea rning so th at these factors can be u tilised du ring the design and implem entation of learning curricula.9.ing. control. strategies. which refer to metacognitive skills (directly or indirectly) include the following (DoE.signer of learning programm es and materials. Loc ally . 1985a. this move towards p erspe ctivity in mathe matics ed ucation has followed international trends. and Le arning area specialist (DoE. Assessor.ledg e of h is/her su bject. administrator and man. n am e ly . Po licy do cu m ents The Na tional Curriculum Statement The So u t h A frican National Curriculum Statement Grade R–9 (Schools) (De. evaluation of. The National Education Policy Act (Do E. 199 2). 2002) for the learning area Mathematics stresses the impo rtance of problem -solving. as w ell as fo r Grade 10–12 schools. Leader. of a nalysing situations. Fu rtherm ore the teaching and learn ing o f m athe m atics sh ou ld . the actual solving of the problem. reasoning. F acilitator s sho uld also be able to monitor and fairly ev aluate learners’ progress. p la nn in g to so lv e th e p ro ble m . Scholar. Learning facilitation in mathe matics is reg arde d as 'p rob lem -solv ing' in which metacognition plays a we ll-de fine d ro le since problem-solvers. com mu nication. Ho we ver. enviro nm ent-cu ltural setting can be u sed in an eco nom ic conte xt. and reflection on. 1992).ager. skills.te d in So uth Afric a o n m e ta co gn itio n in th e m ath em a tic s cla ss ro om . researcher and lifelong learner.partment of Education. Comm unity. Learning mediator. 2002): The teaching and learning of m athem atics aims to develop: • A critica l awa ren ess of ho w m athe m atical re lations hips in a so cial. As facilitator of learning. Prob lem -solving is. 19 96 ) requ ires a learn ing fac ili. i n t he first instance. The aim and unique features of the teaching and learning of mathe matics established by th e N ation al Cu rriculu m State m en t G rade R. become involved in cog. citizenship and pastoral role. • The necessary self-confidence and compe tence to deal with any mathe matical situation without fear of being im ped ed b y m athem atics. assessor and subject specialist. very little rese arch has bee n condu c. their knowledge. the solution (Artzt & Arm our-Th om as. but by absorbing oneself in the problem-solving process and ap plying e xisting e xpe rience s and e xistin g k nowledge to the problem that has to be solved (Schoenfeld. Interpreter and de.Metacognitive strategies 227 classrooms.tator to play seven different roles. and critical think. 2003). insight. P ro ble m s are solve d in th re e s ta ge s. viz . a way of thinking. Some of these roles directly imply metacognition.nitive and m etacognitive be haviour whe n they attem pt to solve prob lem s. teaching principles. of using skills to reason out what cannot be learnt by mem orising specific facts.

Van der Walt & Maree 228 enab le learne rs to: • De velop in-de pth conce pts in order to und erstand m athem atics. • acquire spe cific know ledg e and skills relate d to study in m athem atics (Do E. 20 02 :4-5 ). .

Even those learners who apply metacognitive skills and strategie s are unsu cc e ss fu l from tim e to tim e. Some aspects of constructivist learning facilitat ion in mathematics T h e co nstructivist approach to learning facilitation tends to focus on m o r e learner-directed en viron m en ts. in th e sa m e way that learners m ay have an insufficien t know ledg e ba se (G arner. Worldwide a change in emphasis is occurring. In ess en ce. Learning facilitators have at the ir dispo sal a num be r of strateg ies w ith which they can improve metacognitive strategies.viour. These discu ssion s do not o nly include what needs to be learnt. in sufficie nt m etac ogn itive sk ills implies an inabili ty to learn successfully (Baker. that metacognitive knowledge activates metacognitive experiences. This process-view of teaching and learning.lating behaviour — one should probably add: a nd to reflec t o n t he ir own beha. but also ho w an d why learning n ee ds to occu r. 2002 ). which. when individ uals judge their own thinking. This appro ach is assoc iated w ith activities that facilitate kno wle dge constru ction and facilitate learning (B aylor. Learners' m etacognitive know ledge base m ay b e ins ufficie nt (jeo pard i.sions betwee n learning facilitator and learners.sing the im ple m en tation of m etac ogn ition).coll (2000) distinguishes be twee n the following five feature s of constructivist learning facilitation: (a) learning occu rs in com . with education institutions gradu ally changing from places that "provid e tuition " to places that "facilitate learning" (Barr & Tag g. 1982. in turn. this guides and steers their activities during problem solving. 1991). it is essential for learning facilitator s no t only to facilitate m etaco gnitive strate gies. activate the use of ce rtain me tacognitive strategie s (Garn er. Ideally. It sho uld be expected of learners to gra dually take responsibility for planning and regulating their own learning. Learning facilitators ought to model their w ay of think ing and discuss th is matte r with learners. This parad igm shift is from "instructivism " to "constru ctivism". 19 87 ). the classroom environment becom es a place w here interaction and inve stigative atti tu d e s are encou raged by me ans of discus. Wong (1 991) recom m end s that learne rs show ing evid ence of an inab ility to learn satisfac torily be taught to implement metacognitive strategie s and self-regu. The aim of metacognit ion Cardelle-Elawer (1995) distinguishes between the following three reasons why me tacognitive strategies are esse ntial: the y stim ulate and de velo p an indivi. 1 987 ). contrasts strongly with the traditional approach to the facilitation of mathematics teaching and learning where the learning fac ilitator (teacher) foc use s only o n conte nt. Wong.du al’s thoug hts to attain insight into their own thought processes. b ut also to create opportunities for learners to apply and practise these skills. in order to enab le learners to recog nize their thinking skills. 199 5).Metacognitive strategies 229 The implication thereof is the development of metacognitive strategies and skills. Dris.

Van der Walt & Maree 230 plex and re alistic en viron- .

d uring.g. These factors have particular implications for the purp ose of learning facilitation in m athem atics. The a im of learning facilitat ion in mathematics Grossnickle. th at th e le arn in g fa cilita to r is a p ro ble m . n am e ly . M etac og nition an d th e learning facilitator For the purposes of this study suffice it to mention the description of Artzt and Arm ou r-Tho m as (20 01 ). but also supp orts the m in their effo rts to acquire and e ffectively le arn strategies and skills — in other w ords.ties that indicate insight into the reasons w hy certain mathe matical functions are carried out in particular mech anical ways. Perry and G anoe (19 83) indicate that since the 1980s learning facilitation in mathematics has been distinguished by the following: learning facilitators and oth er role playe rs (e.Metacognitive strategies 231 me nts. and for th is very reason he distinguishes betwee n pre-active.lem . a nd that should be implemented be fore. interactive and post-active phases of learning facilitation.lenge learners intellectually. . Furth erm ore the facilitation of problem-solving strategies should be given preference and the learning facilitato r sh o u ld have a functional knowledge of the language and structure of mathematics — w hich includes. au thors of m athem atics textbo oks) are not only supposed to know and understand the content of the subject — they s hou ld also un de rstand the particular d e velopm ent levels as the way in which learne rs und erstand and le arn m athem atics. (b) provision is m a de for social negotiations. Jackson (1968) regards learning facilitation firstly as a solu tion to a prob. Re ckzeh . C o m p o n en ts of th e le ar n in g fac ilitato rs ’ m et ac o g n itive stra te g ies an d sk ills Artzt and Armour-Thomas (2001) categorize learn in g facilitators’ knowledge. convi ctions. an intelligen t com m and of calc ulating skills an d ab ili. and after the learning facilitation o ppo rtunities. addresse s critical mass issue s in the mathe matics class. to d ecide whe ther the answ ers to p ro ble m s are acceptable or not.solver who ought to solve problems (learning facilitation) metacognitively but also to direct and guid e le arne rs to ac quire m etac ogn itive str ateg ies an d sk ills (Ha rtm an. the follow ing: the ab ility to estim ate. among other things. aims and thinking p rocesses as m etacognitive com pone nts th at are utilized during learning facilitation. (d) learne rs are e nco urag ed to tak e re spo nsib ility for their learning. Schulm an (19 86 ) de fin es the le arn ing fac ilita to r’s knowledge (with respect to knowledge content and m etacognitive kno wle dge of learne rs. (e) these learners’ atten tion is focused on their being aware of the process of knowledge construction (me tacognition). 2 00 1b ). This im plie s that a learn ing fac ilitator d oe s no t only chal. (c) various perspectives supp ort this facilitation and representations are accepted in various ways.

learning are a conte nt and le arning facilitation th at gre atly .me nsional system of internalized information (knowledge and understanding) about learne rs. le ar.ning facilitation and learning facilitation strategies) as an integ rate d.Van der Walt & Maree 232 learning. m ultidi.

An. Em be dd ed in the above are assum ptions conce rning learning-area content. Convictions indicate assumptions concerning the nature of learning. The research problem will now be expl ic a te d against the background sketched above. social and emotional outc om e s that learne rs sho uld attain as a result of learning facilitation and experience s (Cobb. implyin g that a quantitative appro ach supplemented by a m ore qu alitative appro ach w as use d. at the six schools involved i n the greater study in Potchefstroom and Ikageng.ning act as filters through which new mathematics content can be interpreted and through which meanings can be linked with ex pe rien ces .m en t pro ces ses and im ple m en tation sche m es (C lark & Pe ters on. Ou tcom es.Metacognitive strategies 233 influences mathe matics learning and its learn in g facilitation (Fennem a & Fran ke . learn ers and learn ing (A rtzt & Arm ou r-Tho m as. These aspe cts of learning facilitators’ thinking are not conceptually distinguishable. are defined as intellectual. Sample A vail ab il ity samp le of math ematics fac il itato rs fo r q uan tita tiv e p art of the s tudy Twelve mathe matics facilitators. Research problem and aims of the study The rese arch p rob lem to b e inv estig ated wa s the follow ing: D o m athe m atics learn in g facilitators in the senior phase im plem ent and teach me tacognitive strategies? We analysed the nature of these strategies carefully in an attempt to help us i n o ur o wn effo rts to pro vid e e du ca tio n d ep artm e nts w ith som e 'traffic lights' in m athem atics classes in the 21st ce ntury.ment and co ndu ct of learning facilitators. Q ue stionnaire s we re filled in by m athem atics facilitators at a particular tim e 2 (quan ). 1 98 6). Yackel & W ood . but are co m pon ents of a complicated configuration of interdependent develop. le ar. 20 01 ). Th ese facets o f ma them atics lear. These results were later followed up by focusing on one Grade 9 m athem atics fac ilita to r’s metacognition and m etacognitive strategies during learning facilitation (qual).ning content and learning facilitation that influence the perceptions. No inte rventio n wa s carried o ut.other 28 m athem atic s l e arning facilitators completed the self-assessment que stionnaire at the AMESA conference (Association for . emphasizing con cep tual as we ll as procedural understanding. Artzt and Armour-Thomas define learning facilitators’ thought processes lastly as mental activities that are im plem ente d to tak e ap prop riate decisions and to make judgements before (planning) during (monitoring and regulating) and after (assessment/evaluation and reflection) learning oppo rtunities. agreed to participate in the study. 19 92 ). Research design W e implemented a quan-qual design. 199 1). judge.

3).tion o f Sou th Afr ica.Van der Walt & Maree 234 Mathe matics Edu ca. 27 -30 Jun e 2 00 5. . K im be rley ) (Table s 1. 2 .

at a du al-m ed ium scho ol in w hich a ll races we re repre sented . This was do ne in orde r to ob tain a repre sentative (language . . Limitat ions of the study The study w as conducte d on a relatively sm a ll group (availability sample) of m athem atics learning facilitators ove r a limited time and in a limited context and consequently the generalisation value of the study is limited. was aske d to particip ate in the qualitat ive st ud y. race and gen de r) group of learners during the learning facilitating opportunities in the Gra des 8 and 9 classes.Metacognitive strategies Table 1 Frequencies of ages and gender of the learning facilitators Numbe r of learnin g facilitators 6 17 17 n = 40 19 21 235 Var iable 20–30 years 30–40 years 40 years/older Total Ma le Fem ale Table 2 Freq uenc ies of m athem atics learning f acilitators' years of experience Year s of expe rien ce per inter va l Numbe r of learnin g facilitators 0–5 years 6–10 years 11 years or more 7 11 22 Table 3 Freq uenc ies of m athem atics learning f acilitators p er sc hool phase Numbe r of learnin g facilitators 2 6 24 8 School phase Foundation Grad e R–3 Intermediate Grad e 4–6 Senior Grad e 7–9 Fu r th er edu catio n an d tr ain in g Grade 10–12 Quali tative participant One mathe matics learn ing fac ilitator.

The analy sis procedure designed by Artzt & Armour-Thomas (2001) was imple. How does the learning facilitator solve the learning facilitation pro ble m in the class r o om? (Monitoring and regulation: content of actual learning opportunity). . 2 00 2:1 ).blem has been solved? (Reflection and evaluation.92 were regarded as acceptable for the purposes of this study . as well as verbatim transcrip. How does the learning facilitator ensure that the learning facilitation pro. Structured inte rviews we re con ducte d w ith the lea rning facilitator be fore and after each of the two learning opportunities. The responses v arie d fro m I do this throughout (always) — (5) to I nev er do this — (1). (A2) I implem ent co-operative learning (grou p w ork ).hance insight into the dy n amics underlying the learning opportunity. and Cronbach " va lu e) to analyse the d ata.cognitive strategies in the learning facilitation of mathematics by filling in the self-assessment questionnaire (C om m onw ealth of P en nsylv ania. 20 05 ). 2.Methodology Data collection/processing instruments/procedures : Quantitative part Learning facilitators assessed their own im plem entation of integrated m eta.ter view s before and after learning opportunities. and 3. All statistical calculations w ere do ne with the aid o f SAS (SAS Institu te In c.them atics. interview after the le ar.tions of all video recordings. me ans. and d esigne d and prese nted them herse lf. standard deviations.mented and the following three questions needed to be answered: 1. De scriptive statistics were u sed (average s. How does the learning facilitator prepare to solve the problem? (Planning: inte rview s pre ced ing th e le arning op po rtun ities). Examples of questions that were used were: I do the following in ord er to he lp learne rs in m y class to d eve lop into indepe nden t learners: (A1) I teach me tacognitive strategies. Re su lts Q uan titative part Q uality assurance: R eli ab il ity C ronbach " values of 0. vario u s ty pes o f data we re obtained: video recordings of learning facilitating opportunities and of in.ning op po rtun ities h ave be en con clud ed ).. Video reco rdin gs of the actual learning opportunity we re an alysed and questions were asked to en. Learning facilitators assessed their own conduct while facilitating learning and m arke d the app lic a b le response on a five-point scale. Data collection/processing instruments/procedures : Qualitative part Since the research participant planned her own learning oppo rtunities in ma.

Resu lts of the mathematics learning facilitators’ questionnaire The valu es in Tab le 4 ind icate that: • F o u rteen of the 18 item s resulted in a 3(M e)-respon se ('per occas io n / so m et im es ') and only four of the item s resulted in a 4(M e)-respon se ('regu- .

1 3.0 3.0 1. t alk g …) A17 (application ofin strategie s that wer e taught) A18 (self-assessmen t: learning strategies and m athem atics achievem ent) .9 or 3 on the five-point-scale did no t imply that teac hers. 3.0 0.7 3.9 0.9 1. A 5. Standard deviations (Table 4) of the 3(Me )-response for the medians implied that responses varied from 'I do this seldom /almo st never'.7 2. discussions. 'I do this on occa sion /so m etim es' to 'I do th is re gu larl y'. but inconsistently.0 1. • Mathe matics facilitato rs stated that the strate gies w hen facilitating lear.9 A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6 A7 A8 A9 A10 A11 A12 A13 A14 A15 A16 lis te nin g.1 3.9 1.ning in mathematics included the following (Table 4. d id not im plem ent co -ope rative learn ing (A2) or th a t this face t wa s ne ces sarily po orly p rese nte d. A 9.3 3.9 2.1 3.9 2.1 3. me ans.1 1.0 1. Table 4 Arithme tic means ( 0 ).9 0.9 0.3 3.2 3.9 2.0 0.9 0. These results im plied th at m athem atics teach ers did imple. medians and stand ard d evia tions for A 1.larl y') for the mathematics facilitators.ment m etacognitive strategies. A 13 ): – metacognitive strategic teaching (A1) – thinking aloud strategy teaching (A5) – private talk and internalising modelling (A9) – teaching problem-solving strategies (A13) Note that mean sc o re s of 2.4 3.6 3.9 0.9 3. medians (Me) and standard deviations (SD) for the self-assessment questionnaire for mathematics learning facilitators (N=40) Var iable Me 0 (th oughts about their own thinking) (co-operat ive le arning) (p ee r s up po rt /b ud dy sy st em ) (learnin g and repeated learning ) (modelling how to learn by thinkin g aloud) (learnin g strategies sec tion. variou s learnin g styles) (self-questio n strategies) (strateg ies to learn mathematic s independently) (private talk and internalisin g strategies) (extensio n strategies) (monitoring strategies) (regard highe r order th inking as a challenge) (problem-solvin g strategies) (various problems: different aims) (v ar io us pr ob le m s: ty pe s o f p ro ble m ) (teaching an d opportunities: reading. writing.0 1.9 1.gies w ere not im plem ente d on a daily basis o r cohe rently.2 4 3 3 3 4 3 3 3 4 3 3 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 SD 0. for ex am ple. It o nly implied that these strate.0 1.0 0.3 3.

in which .Re sults of th e qu alitative part Pre-phase: Interviews concerning the planning of learning opportunities The learning facilitator explained that the classes were English Grade 8 and G r ad e 9 classe s. in each o f these classes. at least a . resp ective ly.

how did I do the previous one? " The learn ing facilitator stated: " I struggle to understand what the children do not understand … I don’t know. " Some or other way we mu st m ak e it easier for ourselves to prove that two triangles are congruent … but w e ha ve to find a way you guys will also unders tand . the proof was written on the blackboard. the m ain aim of the Grad e 9 le arning facilitating op portu nity w a s to expla in ho w two triangles can be p rove d con grue nt." W hile que stions w ere posed and answered by the group. G rade 9: The learning facilitator de m onstrate d to le arners h ow ske tche s in geo m etry sh ould be an alysed and u nde rstoo d .thing at home that is just a line? What does this mean to me — n o t ju s t in writing?" Grade 9: The learning facilitator intende d to co ncen trate on the stru cture of the proof of the congruent triangles. I strug gl e to u nd er stand wh y the y d o n ot gr asp it.portu nity in geometry laid the foundation for " Lin es . tell me exactly what you see … or do not see. Grad e 9: Th e learn ing facilitator exp lained: "W e have received numerous complaints. ang le s s o th at we can lay a firm fou n dation for the conc ept and basis of geometry ". Pos t-phase: The learning facilitator’s comments on the video’s of the le arning opportunities The learn in g facilitator mad e the follow ing com m ents d uring the postinte r. H ow eve r." She also stated that th e le arners " th ink they know and as they begin to talk. the Grade 8 learning facilitating op.thing with them o n the blac kb oard … T hat wh ich they kn ow . from the ske tch(es). as w ell as to ob tain the ne cessary information for the proof. I have told them so many times. According to the learning facilitator. from other staff also.views: Grade 8: " The learners reacted in the way I exp ected they would. They argu e an d ques tion what you say. that children cannot hear and see and reca ll … " She a dde d: " I deliberately left this one on the blackboard. they realise that they do not unders tand ". The learning facilitator explained ex actly ho w she w ould achieve these aims : Grade 8: " I try to bring these things from home … W here do you see some. and did th e other one next to it so that they can see: OK." Interactive phase: Summaries of actual learning facilitating opportunities The le arning facilitation too k place briefly as fo llows: Grade 8: The lear n ing facilitato r be gan w ith the basic con cep ts and gui.third of the learne rs did no t have E nglish as a m othe r tongu e. we mus t now apply . See." .ded the learners throughout by means of a questionin g strateg y: " What is a line? What is an angle? " Que stions were put to the w hole class. Learn ers ans we red sim ultane ously. if I am perhaps unsure . I think this is a good thing. She exp lained: " I do every.

prov ide answers.tion Facilitato r anticipate d certain problems (strategies) because no n -mo th er tongu e l ea r ner s w er e invo lve d a n d plan ned accor ding ly Fa ci li ta tor r ega rded l ea r ner s as a ctiv e participants wh o had to think. of learning an d a s a ro le m od el o f h ow to "d o" pr ob le m s facilitator Facilita tor w ant ed to t ran sfer c ont ent and help learn ers to acqu ire th oroug h pr ocedu A im s ral sk ills Plann in g of learn in g Fa cilitat or d id n o wr itt en p lan n in g b eca us e s he opportunities felt she knew w hat to do and h ow to go about it. or ga n is ed the a s si gnmen t ac co r din g t o exist ing k nowledg e a nd understan ding of learners. saw the cont (assignmen t) ent in r e la tio n to to ta l ar ea of ma thema ti cs a nd th e necessity thereof for future use Know ledge : Facilitato r focuse d on the con tent educa. giv e attent ion and ke ep up Facilitato r regarded herself as the facilitator of Convictions: role th e lear n in g o f l ea r ner s by a sk in g questio ns. f ocu sed o n th e pr oc edu res tha t ha d to be lea rnt . showed a th orough kn owledge of the conten t of th e lear n in g a rea of ma thema ti cs. th e facilita tor ex pecte d all lear n er s to ans we r all th e q uestio n s sim ulta neo us ly (question s required very short. ma de use of una mb igu ous ex am ples an d exp lan a tion s Regulation Ho pin g t o inv olv e a ll lea rner s a ctiv el y in th e learn ing o pport un ity.Table 5 Summ ary of the learning facilitator’s metacognitive thinking patterns Com ponen t of metacog n ition The m etacognitive thinking patter ns as observed during learning facilitation s of the learnin g area Math ematics Metacogn ition As a w hole Know ledge : learners Facilita tor r eve aled kn ow ledge o f learn ers in ( per so n ) rel ation to their understanding K no w led ge: l ea r ning Facilitato r reveale d conceptua l and procedural ar ea c ont en t un ders tan ding of th e con ten t. direct answers) Fa cilita t or expe ct ed n o expla na tion s fo r the answer s of learners and did not assess answers Facilitato r dealt with understanding or mis co ncep ti ons a t th e en d o f ea ch lea r ning opportunity Le ar ning fa c il ita tion wa s do ne a ccor din g to th e o r ig ina l unwr itt en pla nn ing o f th e l ea r ning facilitator Learner facilitato r facilitated no verbal interaction betwee n learners Learner facilitato r helpe d learners at their desks during the last few minu tes Convictions: role of learners Pre-phase I nter ac tiv e phase .

evaluate and know how to approach assignm ents. to practise. break ing the proble m u p into sm aller steps. She is fu rth erm o re o f the op inion that this too h as to be facilitated so that learners know when. or to think aloud.nen ts categorised by Artzt and Armour-Thomas (1992) an d sum m arise d in this article. Schoenfeld (1985) found a relationship betwee n inad.m an ’s finding (2001a) that learning facilitators think aloud and ask questions so that learners c a n see and hear how to plan. A1 4. why.portu nity to p ose self -que stio ns. posing que stions and answ er. and how to regulate their own thinking.tive way of pro mo ting self-regulated learning.posing strategies and think-aloud models (Table 4: A5 .ved by the rese archer) are sum marised according to the m etacognitive compo. espe cially whe n viewe d against the background of Hartm an (200 1a) wh o be lieves th at to put que stions to onese lf is an effec. Discussion It was evident from our findings that learning facilitators supported question.Table 5 con tinued Com ponen t of metacog n ition Assessmen t/ Evaluation Reflection The m etacognitive thinking patter ns as observed during learning facilitation s of the learnin g area Math ematics Metacogn ition Post-phase Fa ci li ta tor a ss essed th e a ch iev ement of th e o utcome s of th e lea rnin g o pp or tuni ti es in k eeping with th e conten t tha t had been h andled Facilitato r express ed her satisfaction at the way the learnin g opportuniti es had proceed ed. planning.sarily create adequate opportunities for learners to implement and practise these procedures (Table 5). the strategies and steps that are followed (prediction. controlling the m selve s and.ing them . but did not ne ces.ning facilitator can use to ex ternalise thi n k in g p rocesses when the learning facilitator and le arner are involved in an assignme nt requiring thinking. A7 ).e. A 15 and Table 5). arriving at a solution to the pro ble m ) (Table 4: A 13 . monitor. The findings fu rtherm ore indicated that. monitoring. stating: "No changes ar e necessary " Summary of the le arning facilitator’s thinking patterns In Tab le 5 th e l ea rni ng fac ilita to r’s metacognitive thinking pattern s (as obse r.equate facilitation of pro ble m -solv ing stra teg ies an d ne gative achie vem en t in the solving of . She reg ards this as a technique that the le ar. even thoug h learning facilitators implement problem -solving (i. It was notic eab le that learne rs in the classes observed were not really given the op. thro ugh th eir thinking . This facet acquires special impo rtance. investigating the facts in he re nt to th e p ro ble m . evaluation and reflection) are not directly facilitated or explicitly mentioned in the classes that we re observed (Table 5). To some extent these findings linked up with H art.

This occu rs prec isely be cause learne rs .mathe matics prob lem s.

in spite of he r ow n asse ssm ent. F or this reason she was not capab le of e xpe rime nting w ith the diffe ren t learn ing fac ilitatin g approaches in her mathematics class and con seq ue ntly the applicability and the effectivene ss of the different app roa.litate con ten t and too little on lea rners' understanding. Weinstein and Van Mater Stone (1993) found that learning facilitators in their research be l ie v e d that the learne rs und erstoo d w hat the y we re sup pose d to le arn. The teache r me ntione d that. According to the observation table (Table 5). we fee l that a teacher shou ld neverthe less plan the ways of presentation and how learning will take p lace. or to ex plain wha t it was the y did n ot und erstand . Mo reov er. it became clear that she d id no t suitably reflect on po ssible way s to facilitate "best practice" in terms of mathematics teaching and learn ing in her classroom. After the conclu sion of b oth learning opportunities the learning facilitator ex. and evalua tion of. or g iven fee db ack o n this (Table 5). 20 01 . bu t that the le arners we re not assessed by themselves or the learning facilitator to obtain a decision on this m atter. but are una ble to apply this properly because they do not know how to monitor or evalua te their conduct. po st-m ode rn research on the theo ry and the practice of learning facilitation in m athem atics (Hartman. she did not plan to adapt similar learning opportunities i n t he futu re! Th is was most regrettable especially since Sternberg (1985) defines the evaluation of a learning opportunity as the planning for the facilitation of similar situa. This inability is vitally impo r. A possible reason for this could be that the content and nature of the spe cific op po rtun ities d id not require this.ches to learning facilitation in her class could not be eva lu a t e d (Bor ko ws ki. the learn ing facilitator probably did not have the relevant knowledge of recent approaches to learn ing facilitation in m athem atics.tions in the fu ture. In our study. since she felt that she knew what the work was about.pressed her concern about the inability of learne rs to ex plain a con cep t. or even how to speculate on where and when th is knowledge should be imple me n ted. nam ely. During observation of her conduct during the learning facilitation and the interview s prec ed ing and follow ing the conclusion of the learning opportunities. Schoenfeld (1983) indicates that skilful problem-solvers' problem-solving is facilitated by metacognition. but that learne rs we re n ot giv en a suita ble chan ce during the learning opportunities to as se ss th eir o wn th in kin g o r co m preh en sio n. Although it w as c om . she did no written planning. bo th learn ing o pp ortu nities (qualitativ e fac et o f the stud y).firm that learning facilitators perhap s c onc en trate too m uch on h ow to faci.m en dab le that she knew what the work was about (or dealt with). W e would like to emphasise the learning facilitator’s own re flection on.freq ue ntly possess the necessary factual kno wled ge in m athem atics. These findings confirmed to a certain extent the finding of Black and William (1998) that learning facilitators know too little about their learners' learning needs.tant. it is app aren t that th e le arning facilitato r that was observed cou ld possibly intuitively have had a variety of m etacognitive skills. Clark and Peterson (1986) also con. 20 01 b).

Clearly. the learning facilitator’s reflection was focused on the oneside d .).

wh o asse rts that when teachers teach learne rs different strategies to overco me obstacles to prob lem -solving. 1 99 2). Th is is dep lorable. but also to expla i n the thou ght processe s they m ade use of. 19 91 ). (b ) th e le arn er h im / herse lf. is e sse ntial.ner. and that learne rs should initially be guided in their self-evaluation by a control list that focuses o n thinking processe s. and (c) the lea r ning fac ilitating stra teg y.ners b ec om e life-lo ng le arne rs (Jo ne s. O n the o ther ha nd w hen learne rs are equippe d with m etacognitive strategies and sk ills — that c an no t b ec om e obso lete — they are empowered to become independ en t lifelong lea rners (Bon ds. Lea rne rs sho uld b ec om e adept at distinguishing between what they know and what they do not kn ow . learn ers n ee d to talk about their thinking in order to acquir e a sufficient vocabulary to describe their think ing. and learning. Ce rtainly. it is ex actly these factors that make a teacher a good teacher! When a mathe ma. since it is imp ortant that learning facilitators should consider their learners' mastery of m etacognitive strategies.ment on the obstac les that h ave been overcome. Fu rthe rm ore . not on ly to pro vide a final ans we r to a problem. b y a pa rtic ula r a ge gro up of le arn ers .garding the ir kno wle dge abo ut a p rob lem . co nc ern in g (a ) th e su bje ct co nc ern ed . Re latively little research has been d o n e in the South African context . W e concu r with K outse leni (199 1).facilitating strategies influence the quali ty of learners' learning (Ball & Bass. one of the roles o f the lea rning facilitator is to he lp lear. w hen learners are encouraged to think aloud. that learners explain and summ arize their thinking processes during a class discuss ion . or po ssibly ne ed ed in the future.achieveme nt of the set ou tcom es relati ng to content (and procedure) of the learning area mathematics and not on the learners' sufficient mastery of relevant m etac ogn itive str ateg ies. Concluding remarks Learning facilitator s' kno wle dge of the ir learning area. learners. In othe r wo rds.tics teac he r plan s for a le arnin g opportunity he/she should also plan the me tacognitive strategie s according to the content of the particular learning area and also how he/ she is go ing to te ach the subje ct. which include the following: that learners keep a journal reflecting on their own thoughts . After all. Plannin g. The sub stanc e o f ou r argu m en t is the following: It is impossible for learn. tea. We also support Blake y and S pe nc e’s (1990) suggestions. the y shou ld be able to m a k e a conscious decision re. am b ig uitie s an d co ntra dic tio ns a nd co m . The au thors fee l very stron gly that all teache rs should be guided to first acquire m etacognitive skills to enable the m to plan for an d p rep are th eir learn ers to think m etac ogn itively and so be able to deal with m ath ematical problems in a metacognitive man. Be ll & Sad dle r.chers are actively su p p o rting learners and guiding them to become aware of and use the ir metacog nitive abilities.ing facilitators to impart all the knowledge needed. To conclude we presen t a brief review of a po ssible logical and innovative way for teach ers to gu ide the ir learn ers to func tion o n a m etac ogn itive le vel. 20 02 ). B ond s & Pe ach.

on metacognition in mathematics teaching and eve n less has b ee n pu blishe d in .

very few tea. a major probl e m in th is regard appe ars to be the nu mb er of opp ortunities that exist in the clus ters to e ngage in issues s uch as m eta co g n i tio n as opposed to the regu latory issues of policy.e. w e hav e id en tified a n umb e r o f im p o rt ant is su es t ha t w e view as critical in mathe matics classroom s. Se em ingly. Clearly. as a starting point for reflection and critique. 2 00 5). a nd w e agre e w ith Nx esi. . we feel that it is vitally important to introduce the notion of me tacognition and the app lication of m etacognitive skills and strategies into Sou th African mathem atics classroom s. Judging by the findings of this (albeit extremely limited an d local stud y).duce these concepts. Howeve r. not in a topdown. curriculum change structures and form s. in de e d.chers either understand or ap ply these sk ills (put otherw ise: address critical mass is su es ) in m ath em a tic s cla ss ro om s in South Africa. prescriptive wa y that m ight fail to challenge the ex isting te ache rs' pract ices in the teaching of m athem atics but. any intervention s h o u ld be based on the following principle: The m e ch an is m s adopted need to start at the level where teachers are. issues that need to be researched as a matter of extreme urgency. by engaging practising teachers in in-service training and by introdu. The first issue is that of an apparent and worrying failure on behalf of teachers to either provide knowledge of or insight into th e concept metacognition. As we have indicated. if we are serious abou t changing classroom p ractice. the introduction of metacognition and the application of me tacognitive skills and strate gies in m athe m atics cla s sro om s remains a major challenge for tertiary training ins t it u tions and schoo ls alike. who had the following to say about the p oor qu ality of m athem atics teaching in Sou th Africa: "It is amazing that a national strategy for the professional developme nt of te ache rs afte r ten ye ars still do es n ot e xist" (D e V ries. Teachers' epistemo.m ized . moderating and grading q u es tio n papers takes away the opp ortunity to focus the clusters on som e signif icant areas of practice such as metacognition.ro om s and how they do it.tional research. the teache rs them selves de serve a chance to share wh at they do in their class. if our experience is anything to go by. vita lly im .this regard.lo gical assum ptions and their classroom practices (based on the se assu m p . Cluster meetings seem like a logical starting point to in tro. The use of cluster meetings as opportunities to distribute and fill in forms and paper wo rk on setting. we feel that it is vitally im p ortant to provide adequate opportunities for teache rs to share in and benefit from cutting-edg e know ledge from interna. as a matter of extreme urgency. In this way the e xistence o f clusters as an informal place for teachers to carry out their own activities on content k now led ge is m ini. President of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SAD TU). Th is cr ea tes a n u ntenab le sit ua tion .cing the notion of metacognition into lectu re rooms at universities throughout Sou th Africa. After all. m ore re search in this area is es sential and .portan t. i. In sum mary. Secondly.tions) n eed to b e r es ear ch ed a nd challen ge d with a view t o imp ro v ing the standard of m athem atics teaching in SA. rather. The po ssibility that me tacognitive skills and strategies unlock mathe matics teaching are the refore relatively u nkno wn to learning facilitators in S ou th Afric a.

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