by Guest Blogger Donna Wilson
In our study of metacognitive strategies, we have found that the best
way to teach is to embrace the concept of metacognition as part of our
own learning process. In the classroom, it is important not only to be
the teacher but also to be the lead learner by modeling the use of
metacognition and cognitive strategies. When students see their teachers
putting these strategies into action, they can more effectively learn
how to use the cognitive processes themselves.
instance, when reading aloud a passage, it's often a good idea to think
aloud about the author's perspective to underscore the importance of his
or her point of view. Or when undertaking a class project, the teacher
can model planning and organization by developing a checklist of tasks
that need to be completed and sharing this with students.
important way we learn is by making mistakes. The phrase "Nothing
ventured, nothing gained" can be adapted quite nicely into a neat little
axiom: "Nothing ventured, nothing learned." When teachers make a
mistake, they can analyze these mistakes out loud. Students may get a
"kick" out of realizing that even adults make mistakes, but they can
also see how the adult in charge of their classroom works through a
mistake, making it a learning experience rather than a source of
embarrassment or frustration.
forefront of research is a growing understanding of how important it is
to explicitly teach, model, encourage, and celebrate the use of
metacognition and cognitive strategies. As we point out in our book, Five Big Ideas for Effective Teaching: Connecting Mind, Brain, and Education Research to Classroom Practice,
there is a common assumption that children come to school already
equipped with the skills needed to learn. In reality, virtually all
students benefit from explicit instruction in learning how to learn.
Explicit teaching in the area of metacognitive and cognitive strategies
will provide students with essential opportunities to discover and
practice thinking strategies that will help them learn and keep them
engaged in the learning process.