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Promoting deep thinking

Sometimes, to avoid students experiencing failure and/or not liking mathematics, teachers create a 'comfort zone' so that students do not feel challenged or stretched. However, challenging experiences are a strong influence on self-identity. Effort in engagement with new ideas brings feelings of mastery and enjoyment.

One way of promoting deep thinking is to expect it. Set tasks and ask questions that demand higher-order thinking skills, such as:

  • analysing
  • creating
  • evaluating
  • justifying.

Ask divergent questions that seek a wide variety of correct answers.

Planning a whole lesson around only one problem or idea, rather than a suite of problems and ideas, can lead to deeper-level thinking. For example, when learning the nine times table, classes can spend at least an hour with the Exploring Nines activity.

Exploring nines

Develop a lesson from counting by nines.