Socially mediated metacognition: Creating collaborative zones of proximal development in small group problem solving.
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This paper reports on a three year study of patterns of student-student social interaction that mediated metacognitive activity in senior secondary school mathematics classrooms. Transcripts of small group problem solving were analysed to determine how a collaborative zone of proximal development could be created through interaction between peers of comparable expertise, and to investigate conditions under which such interaction led to successful or unsuccessful problem solving outcomes. Unsuccessful problem solving was characterised by students' poor metacognitive decisions exacerbated by lack of critical engagement with each other's thinking, while successful outcomes were favoured if students challenged and discarded unhelpful ideas and actively endorsed useful strategies. In reconceptualising metacognition as a social practice, the study contributes to the growing body of research applying sociocultural theories to understand learning in mathematics classrooms.
Educational Studies in Mathematics