BES Case Study 22: Support students to make their own choice of tools and representations when solving problems

BES Case Study 22: Support students to make their …
01 Feb 2007

The best evidence syntheses (BESs) bring together research evidence about ‘what works’ for diverse (all) learners in education. Recent BESs each include a number of cases that describe actual examples of professional practice and then analyse the findings. These cases support educators to grasp the big ideas behind effective practice at the same time as they provide vivid insight into their application.

This case illustrates how cognitive conflict can be a resource for learning. When an apparent contradiction surfaced during problem solving, instead of circumventing discussion by providing an explanation, the teacher in the case ensured that all students were challenged to explore their own thinking, and encouraged to use a range of tools to solve the problem. In this way, the teacher allowed the students to focus on justifying their methods, based on the logic of mathematics.

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