Learners’ Critical Thinking About Learning Mathematics
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionInternational Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education. 2021, 16 (3), Artikkel em0644. https://doi.org/10.29333/iejme/11003
Developing critical thinking practices among young learners through mathematics education is a topic of attention for mathematics education research community. Learners’ critical thinking concerning cognitive and social aspects of their mathematics education have been explored in several research studies. However, learners’ critical thinking concerning their personal beliefs about their mathematics learning process have not received much consideration. In this paper, learners’ practice with thinking critically about and their potential to suggest changes in their mathematics learning process is explored based on their expressed beliefs about learning mathematics. Learners of eighth and ninth grade in two Norwegian schools responded to a questionnaire and were interviewed to gather their opinions concerning their mathematics learning process. Data analysis indicates that learners seldom think critically, and hold inconsistent beliefs about mathematics and its learning process. Moreover, they struggle to observe their own beliefs critically, and hesitate in suggesting alternatives to make learning mathematics meaningful for them. Consequently, learners’ critical attitude towards their mathematics learning process and their personal beliefs in order to gain a meta-perspective of their learning contexts does not seem to be evolving effectively. However, if learners are encouraged to think critically about mathematics education, their potential of contributing to improve their mathematics learning process becomes visible. We recommend that young learners get training in and are encouraged to think critically about their mathematics learning process so that they are equipped to make reflected choices related to learning mathematics in their personal lives.