Merging cognitive and instructional theories: Implementation of an advanced learning system in secondary mathematics
This mixed methods, action research study in the context of secondary mathematics investigated the relationships among teacher beliefs, student achievement and mathematical affective response and development of teacher and student metacognition through the implementation of an advanced learning process known as the Let Me Learn® process. The Let Me Learn process is grounded in social cognitive theory; it provides a conceptual framework and taxonomy to establish shared meanings through which both students and teachers develop metacognitive skills focused on learning.
Literature was reviewed to situate Let Me Learn within social cognitive theory, to contrast it with stimulus-response educational models and to merge cognitive and instructional theories. The Let Me Learn intervention aimed to develop meta-level processes and empower learners with sophisticated learning strategies.
Teachers, as learners, engaged in reflective experiences that promote meta-cognition and meta-awareness related to teachers' own individual learning patterns. Learning pattern combinations are the interaction of four learning patterns described as: sequential, precise, technical and confluent. The Learning Combination Inventory was the instrument used to capture the learning pattern combinations of teachers and students.
Teachers' understanding of their own and their students learning patterns, pedagogical beliefs, reflective practice, and response to challenged assumptions, influenced degree of implementation. Five algebra teachers and 123 students from a Northeastern United States suburban district participated. Observations and interviews captured observable degree of implementation and teachers' emerging beliefs.
It was concluded a single year was insufficient time for teachers to implement the innovation completely. However, through reflection and growing knowledge of their own learning processes, teachers improved their understanding of themselves and their students as learners. Teachers' self-confrontation with previously formed beliefs about teaching and learning was pivotal in reconceptualizing their classroom role, a state reached by 80% of them.
Findings demonstrated preexisting differences in student mathematical affect response to learning mathematics that related to differences in their learning patterns. Differences in student achievement on teacher-designed assessments were attributable to differences in teachers' and students' learning patterns.
Recommendations call for a three-year innovation cycle, future research, and practical applications for administrative functions such as hiring, supervision, evaluation and professional development.
0280: Mathematics education