Thursday, October 5, 2017

Metacognition: The Gift That Keeps Giving

Students who succeed academically often rely on being able to think effectively and independently in order to take charge of their learning. These students have mastered fundamental but crucial skills such as keeping their work space organized, completing tasks on schedule, making a plan for learning, monitoring their learning path, and recognizing when it might be useful to change course.

They do not need to rely on their teacher as much as others who depend on more guidance to initiate learning tasks and monitor their progress. Students who do not learn how to "manage" themselves well as they proceed through school experience more setbacks, become discouraged and disengaged from learning, and tend to have lower academic performance. They may also be responsible for more classroom management issues.

Many teachers we know enjoy teaching students how to wield one of the most powerful thinking tools: metacognition, or the ability to think about your thoughts with the aim of improving learning. A metaphor that resonates with many students is that learning cognitive and metacognitive strategies offers them tools to "drive their brains." The good news for teachers and their students is that metacognition can be learned when it is explicitly taught and practiced across content and social contexts.


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