Introducing metacognitive strategies in your classroom: A teacher's guide.
Introducing metacognitive strategies in your classroom: A teacher's guide.
Metacognition is a term used for the methods that can help learners understand how they learn. In other words, metacognition means processes created for the learners to 'think' how they 'think'. Metacognition helps learners in becoming aware of their individual learning experiences and the activities they involve themselves in their paths toward professional and individual growth. Some examples of metacognitive activities include: planning how to perform a learning task, applying appropriate strategies and skills to solve a problem, self-assessment and self-correction as a result of evaluating one's own progress toward completing a task.
Metacognition is beneficial in student learning because it allows learners to reflect on what they know, who they are, what they wish to know, and how they can reach that point. Reflection is an important aspect of learning and teaching. Teachers must be reflective in their practice so that they can keep on growing, continue to meet their students’ needs, and evaluate their own growth and skills. It is important to motivate students to practice reflection so that they can build their individual reflective practices and develop metacognitive skills to prepare for their future.
Metacognitive knowledge must be built at an early age when children are gaining their primary education (Norman, 2016). The process of Metacognition involves a primary student's planning, monitoring, evaluating and making changes to his individual learning behaviour. Although a typical metacognitive approach focuses on enabling a student rather than the instructor to take control of his own learning, in metacognition, the instructor plays an integral role in developing younger learners’ metacognitive skills. For transforming primary students into metacognitive, self-regulated learners, the primary teachers must:
The use of metacognitive strategies in secondary schools can help enhance secondary students' critical thinking skills, offer them new ways for organizing their thinking in educational tasks, help them distinguish truths and lies told in the media, and teach them about the importance of a growth mindset for success in education and life. The secondary school teachers can apply the following metacognitive strategies to help secondary school students think about their individual thinking processes:
Teachers can develop metacognitive skills in the classroom by offering students the opportunity to implement metacognitive strategies at prime stages of a task. This allows students to improve both their metacognitive abilities and self-awareness to choose an efficient thought process in the future. Somehow, this approach is very much similar to the cycle ‘Plan, Do, Review’ which has been used by a lot of high-performance sports teams. A useful way is to divide the strategies into the following stages:
Through planning before starting a task, students are able to perform their effort more efficiently. Effective preparation involves:
After the task, students need to spend some time reflecting on what they did well and what they should do differently in future. By doing so, students would develop, progress and learn as much as possible from the experience.
Imagine a sportswoman is training for a marathon and her target is to run 24 miles. But, it does not mean she is going to step out of her front door and take off with a steady run at top speed. She would create a plan. She would make a training schedule and she would run in different conditions for different periods of time. Eventually, she would try and run at that marathon-length route. She may initially fail, or she may not fail. But, that trial run will serve as an opportunity for her to assess what she is doing right in her training regimen and what is not right. Then she would modify her training regimen to suit her needs. This is metacognition.
Students do not usually pause to assess if their routine to study or learn is effective. Metacognition can help them advance the learning process by helping them to assess what they are learning? Are they able to retain the information? Do they need to develop strategies to improve their understanding of a topic? When a student is metacognitive, he understands himself as a learner and then he makes strategic choices about how to study and learn with their knowledge in mind.
How do Metacognitive Processes enhance independent learning?
Metacognition or the concept of “thinking about thinking” and was proposed by John Flavell, who is largely considered as a founding scholar of the field of metacognition. According to Flavell, metacognition is related to one's own understanding of his cognitive processes (or his thinking). Flavell (1979) states that metacognition is the ability to control one's thinking processes in several strategies i.e. planning, monitoring, and adapting (Norman, 2016). Moreover, metacognition is a person's ability to reflect upon the processes tasks one performs and to choose and apply the most suitable strategies needed in one's intercultural interactions.
Nelson (2021) mentioned that metacognition is a critical part of successful learning. It involves self-reflection and self-regulation of abilities, weaknesses, and the kinds of strategies one creates. Metacognition provides an essential foundation in culturally intelligent leadership as it affects how one thinks about a situation or problem and the strategies one selects to handle a problem or a situation.
A report has been published by The Education Endowment Foundation on metacognition and self-regulated learning. This report gives examples of strategies that can be used with students of all ages to encourage metacognitive and self-regulated learning in the classroom. These strategies are given below.
1. What is metacognition?
Cognitive processes are the mental processes that involve one's mental state; this can include memory and attention, the activation of prior knowledge, and the use of cognitive strategies to solve a problem or complete a task.
2. What are the benefits of Metacognition?
Metacognition is the ability to monitor and control one's cognition, which is recognized in many scientific fields as the most important component of academic achievement.
4. What is metacognitive regulation?
Metacognitive regulation is the process of monitoring and controlling one's cognitive processes. It refers to how learners manage their mental activities to achieve the desired outcome.
5. What is the planning phase?
During the initial planning phase, learners think about the learning goal set by the teacher. They then consider how they will approach the task and which strategies they will use. You can see examples of how students can approach this here.
6. What is the central executive?
In psychology, the central executive is the part of the working memory responsible for sequential task management.
7. What is the Zone of Proximal Development?
The zone of proximal development is the range of skills that a learner can successfully accomplish with guidance from an instructor or a more capable peer.
8. What is metacognitive development?
Metacognitive development is the development of thinking processes. It's your ability to examine your own thoughts and make judgments about them.
9. What is a metacognitive approach?
A metacognitive approach typically involves students applying metacognitive strategies to respond to clear and explicit learning goals which have either been set by the teacher or identified by the student themselves.
10. What are the benefits of discussing strategies?
The strategy is crucial to the success of the student. Discussing strategies in class helps students understand what strategies are available to them, how they impact their learning and why they work.
11. What are the benefits of metacognitive teaching?
Metacognitive teaching is one of the best ways to teach by encouraging students to reflect on their own learning. It also has other benefits including promoting independent learning.
12. At what age can children become metacognitive?
Several studies have found that children as young as 18 months demonstrated error-correction strategies, and 5-year-olds who were aware of forgetting. Meanwhile, 3 to 5-year-olds exhibited a wide range of verbal skills.
13. What is a Personal Reflection Journal?
The Personal Reflection Journal is an ongoing process that enables learners to document and reflect on their learning process. Learners keep a journal that captures their thoughts, ideas, and reflections on their learning experiences.