Student Development in Logical Reasoning: Results of an Intervention Guiding Students Through Different Modes of Visual and Formal Representation

Hugo Bronkhorst*, Gerrit Roorda, Cor Suhre, Martin Goedhart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Due to growing interest in twenty-first-century skills, and critical thinking as a key element, logical reasoning is gaining increasing attention in mathematics curricula in secondary education. In this study, we report on an analysis of video recordings of student discussions in one class of seven students who were taught with a specially designed course in logical reasoning for non-science students (12th graders). During the course of 10 lessons, students worked on a diversity of logical reasoning tasks: both closed tasks where all premises were provided and everyday reasoning tasks with implicit premises. The structure of the course focused on linking different modes of representation (enactive, iconic, and symbolic), based on the model of concreteness fading (Fyfe et al., 2014). Results show that students easily link concrete situations to certain iconic referents, such as formal (letter) symbols, but need more practice for others, such as Venn and Euler diagrams. We also show that the link with the symbolic mode, i.e. an interpretation with more general and abstract models, is not that strong. This might be due to the limited time spent on further practice. However, in the transition from concrete to symbolic via the iconic mode, students may take a step back to a visual representation, which shows that working on such links is useful for all students. Overall, we conclude that the model of concreteness fading can support education in logical reasoning. One recommendation is to devote sufficient time to establishing links between different types of referents and representations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-399
Number of pages22
JournalCanadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education
Issue number2
Early online date23-Apr-2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2021

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