Recommendation 3 of the EEF’s ‘Improving Maths at Key Stages 2 and 3’ guidance report highlights that, to help pupils develop problem-solving skills, we need to explicitly teach metacognitive strategies such as the ‘Think Aloud’.
During a ‘Think Aloud’, teachers narrate their thought processes to demonstrate how they – as ‘expert’ learners – approach a problem. This provides clear models of how and why we select particular problem-solving approaches, making these invisible processes and decisions visible and accessible to pupils.
We asked Emma Barker – Year 6 teacher, maths lead, and assistant headteacher at Amberley Primary School – to talk to us about how she uses the ‘Think Aloud’ approach to model her thinking. Emma highlights the importance of showing learners why she makes particular decisions so that, over time, pupils can build a bank of ideas which they can use in their own independent problem-solving.
We hope this latest ‘Voices from the Classroom’ video helps colleagues to consider how they can model metacognitive thinking to support learners in their own classroom practice.
EEF blog: Thinking Aloud to support mathematical problem-solving
EEF blog: Using the debrief to support structured reflection on mathematical problem-solving