The Effect Of Think Alouds On Mathematical Reasoning

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The Effect of Think Alouds on Mathematical Reasoning
Chrystal Paddock
Concordia University

The Effects of Think Alouds on Mathematical Reasoning
This literature review endeavors to draw connections between several studies regarding thinking aloud and mathematical reasoning in mathematics classrooms. This review investigates the question: do think alouds in middle school improve mathematical reasoning? Mathematical reasoning involves formulating conjectures, sense-making with mathematical concepts and making reasonable judgements, which may serve to support inquiry and exploration. From group collaboration to individual work, students were prompted to vocalize their thinking and understanding in various settings in an attempt to
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Self-explanation is the process of describing understanding as expressed in one’s own words. Think alouds engage students in self-explanation, describing their mathematical process and reasoning. Monaghan (2005) found that students benefit from externalizing their own thinking. Reviewing transcribed group conversations uncovers students sharing mathematical processes and thinking and leveraging their understanding to present and support a convincing argument for the mathematical processes chosen (Monaghan, 2005). This not only accomplishes effective group collaboration resulting in more accurate and complete work, but under the ground rules, provided each member an opportunity to vocally contribute. Chi, et al. (1994) discuss the implications of self-explanation comparing a control group of students who recites and excerpt from a text twice to the test group who recites the same text, but after each passage is prompted to self-explain. Overwhelmingly the test group outperformed the control group, more accurately and more completely recalling circulatory system knowledge. These findings have a potentially profound impact on math students engaging in think alouds. Montague et al. (1993) and Rosenzweig et al. (2011) also made extensive use of think alouds, but the purpose was to vocalize thought to evaluate for cognitive and
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