#147 Research in Action 13: The self-explanation effect and how experts read maths differently with Lara Alcock

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This episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast is kindly supported by Arc Maths.

You can find more information about their app for helping students remember those crucial maths skills – and register for a free trial – at arceducation.co.uk/for-schools/


Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast, with me Craig Barton.

This is an episode from season 2 of the Research in Action mini series, where I interview a researcher from the Mathematics Education Centre at Loughborough University about their chosen area of interest, and the implications for maths teaching and learning. You can check out all the previous conversations in the series here.

On today’s episode I was lucky enough to speak to Lara Alcock.

Lara completed a BSc and MSc in Mathematics and a PhD in Mathematics Education at the University of Warwick. She then spent four years as an assistant professor with a joint appointment in Mathematics and the Graduate School of Education at the Rutgers University in the USA. She returned to the UK in 2005, and worked as a teaching fellow at Essex University before taking up her current post at Loughborough in 2007.

Lara and I discussed two of my favourite things: reading mathematical problems and the self-explanation effect. I have spoken a far bit about these things over the last few years on the podcast, perhaps most notably with Michael Pershan, but to be able to discuss these with someone who has researched it first-hand was fascinating. How do experienced mathematicians read solutions differently to undergrads, how can the latter group be supported to read the solutions more like the experts, and what are the implications for the classroom? I will shape my thoughts in the takeaways at the end.

If you need to, you can download an mp3 version of the podcast here (but most podcast providers give you the option to download for offline listening)

Research mentioned:

Renkl’s 1997 paper: Learning from Worked-Out Examples: A Study on Individual Differences

Lara Alcock’s Big 3
1. Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace
2. Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change
3. Crucial conversations

My usual plugs:

One thought on “#147 Research in Action 13: The self-explanation effect and how experts read maths differently with Lara Alcock

  1. Hi, what is the difference between the book “How to Study as a Mathematics Major” and “How to Study for a Mathematics Degree” [both by Lara Alcock]
    Aren’t they essentially the same thing?

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