HODDS, M., ALCOCK, L. and INGLIS, M., 2014. Self-explanation training improves proof comprehension. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 45 (1), pp. 98 - 137.
In this paper we report three experiments demonstrating that a simple booklet containing self explanation
training, designed to focus students’ attention on logical relationships within a
mathematical proof, can significantly improve their proof comprehension. Experiment 1
demonstrates that students who receive the training generate higher quality explanations and
perform better (effect size d = 0.950) on a comprehension test. Experiment 2 demonstrates
that self-explanation training increases students’ cognitive engagement and the frequency
with which they move their attention around a proof. Experiment 3 demonstrates that a 15-
minute in-lecture self-study intervention improves students’ proof comprehension, and that
the effect persists over time. Thus we argue that ‘transition to proof’ courses should
incorporate self-explanation training.