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Self-Explanation of Proofs

Author: Kate Green   27th February 2015

Mark Hodds from Sigma (Coventry University’s Maths and Statistics support centre) is working with Roy Bhakta, Senior Research Assistant, and Jonathan Worth, Principal Project Lead, to develop ‘self-explanation training’. This seeks to support students in confidently understanding and developing mathematical proofs. It is understood that undergraduate mathematics students struggle with mathematical proofs (see Weber, 2010 for example). Being able to understand proofs and being able to construct proofs are a key skill of any successful mathematician.

“A mathematical proof is an argument which convinces other people that something is true” Michael Hutchings

Self-explanation training (used in other industries and disciplines) has been shown to be extremely beneficial to the understanding of mathematical proofs at the undergraduate level in the short term. This project aims to extend the use of self-explanation training to different modalities (audio/visual) so that it is accessible and engaging for students. The wider aim is to be able to be able to implement this kind of self-explanation technique across other faculties in the University.


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