Metacognition (Or, Thinking about Thinking)
Metacognition can be an invaluable tool to help students focus on the learning process itself and help themselves find the best ways to learn.
“A ‘metacognitive’ approach to instruction can help students learn to take control of their own learning by defining learning goals and monitoring their progress towards them.”
Teaching and Learning Implications:
- Challenge students to share their thought processes, particularly as they problem-solve. Think-aloud paired problem solving works well in many disciplines such as math and reading.
- Ask students to submit an assessment paper answering questions such as, “What challenged you the most about this assignment?” “What did you learn that surprised you?” “What would you do differently if you had two more weeks?” or “What would you change, if you could?”
- As you lecture, stop and ask questions such as, “How fully and consistently were you concentrating on the lecture during these few minutes?” “Did you get distracted at any point? If so, how did you bring your attention back into focus?” “What were you doing to record the information you were receiving? How successful were you?” “What were you doing to make connections between this “new” information and what you already know?” or “What did you expect to come next in the lecture and why?”
- Help students learn to think in your discipline. Students should learn to approach a physics problem differently than they would approach the analysis/interpretation of a poem in a literature class.
Adapted from: Millis, Barbara J., Director, The TEAM Center, University of Texas at San Antonio, http://www.utsa.edu/directory/
Bransford, J. D., A. Brown, and R. R. Cocking (Eds.). (1999). How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, D. C.: National Academy Press. Available from http://www.nap.edu/html/howpeople1/notice.html