Explicit Instruction: Math Strategies
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Adults benefit from learning math in a real-world context, making it relevant to their daily lives. Real-world math can be messy, however, and learners may get frustrated or experience math anxiety when there is not an obvious rule for how to solve the problem. As such, introducing adults to a repertoire of strategies to use when they encounter messy real-world problems helps promote a productive disposition while allowing them to flexibly practice using their strategies. Allowing learners the space to brainstorm strategies, discuss their thinking, and propose alternatives with others promotes learning both inside and outside the classroom.
When considering a direct instruction approach for math strategies, it is important to note that it can lead to rote learning which does not support Metacognition, Reasoning, or Problem Solving - essential to building a solid foundation in math. Conceptual understanding should be established prior to direct instruction in math strategies. Though exposure to a variety of strategies is possible when taught directly, it is important that learners put the strategies to use right away to promote Reasoning.