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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching, Mathematics



First Reader/Committee Chair

Wallace, Laura


This literature review was conducted after it was noticed that an active instruction approach in teaching mathematics was becoming more of a standard approach. This literature review aims to analyze and synthesize existing research regarding active and direct instruction, as well as examine how these instructional strategies support the promotion of flexible thinking in students, including their promotion of the Standards of Mathematical Practice related to flexibility in thinking. This review defines both active instruction and direct instruction, as well as compares the two strategies, particularly in terms of how well they promote flexible thinking in students. It was discovered that there exists an abundance of research regarding active instruction, including its promotion of flexible thinking, yet it was difficult to find articles advocating for direct instruction. From the research conducted, it appears that a more active approach is more conducive to the learning of mathematics for students in that it encourages flexible thinking, which is a necessary component of a successful mathematician. More research is needed to determine under which conditions these instructional strategies yield optimal results.