Metacognition - Strategies, Skills And Metacognitive Knowledge

What Is Metacognition In Education

15, March 2022

Effective classroom teaching is key to helping students achieve learning goals, but they seem to depend upon the teachers. Consequently, depending on the class notes and rote learning solely further serves to the lack of individuality and creativity. They do not get the chance to explore their thought process or develop problem-solving skills.

Hence, educators and scholars realised the need for varied strategies that would help to facilitate productive pupil learning. Simultaneously, they needed to implement an individualised learning system that would also help the teachers gauge how the students are doing. For instance, metacognition in education is one of the most valuable strategies to help instructors and institutes achieve the aim.

What Is Metacognition In Learning?

Metacognition refers to a person’s ability to understand, plan, monitor, evaluate and make changes to their learning habits or behaviours. They do this to confront the challenges and bring out new and unique solutions to their problems. The active monitoring and modification of the thought process is an integral part of the concept. Furthermore, it is a form of self-regulation that involves self-awareness, critical analysis skills, and solving problems.

The traditional learning approach prompts students to follow a monotonous procedure of memorising the lessons even before understanding them. Later on, when it is time to apply what they have learned in a practical situation or demonstrate their knowledge, they fail. Metacognitive skills can help students recognise their cognitive abilities, direct their own learning and evaluate their performance.

When students fail to perform successfully in tests or any exams, they are unsure of the reasons, but metacognition helps clarify their failures or successes. They can learn snd revise through new strategies because this technique optimises their basic cognitive processes, including memory, attention, activation of prior knowledge. They become competent in completing a task more efficiently without much help. Also, improved learning methodologies helps them to learn faster and effectively.

Types of Metacognition

Metacognition can be classified into several types. These are some examples:

Metacognitive knowledge

Is a student's awareness of what they know and doesn't know about their cognitive processes. It entails understanding their strengths and shortcomings as well as identifying knowledge gaps. This type of metacognition also relates to pupils' awareness of abilities that they can employ to address an issue.

Metacognitive regulation

Refers to the various ways that students may employ in order to govern their thoughts and emotions. This covers how effectively they plan, monitor, and assess their performance. For example, recognizing that a specific approach is not producing the desired results and deciding to try a different one is an example of metacognitive control.

Strategies Of Metacognition

  • Identify the issues while applying formulas in math or the inability to use appropriate words in sentences.
  • Recollect the math problems that students were able to solve or not solve before, strategies used to solve a complex issue. Specific words that the students used to express their situation and perspectives.
  • While applying the strategy, metacognition knowledge helps students to assess if the strategy will work on a problem or not.
  • It also helps them to come up with a different strategy if the one they are using is not working or turns out to be ineffective.
  • It also allows them to reflect upon their performance on the task, which will help them in their future work.

Teachers or institutes can use metacognition in learning for varied subjects to improve the way students learn. As a result, they will no longer suffer due to ineffective practices and will develop helpful insights into their learning behaviour.

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Metacognitive Examples or Strategies

Written below are a few of the examples that teachers can implement in the classroom :

1. Learning or thinking journals

Giving a chance to articulate whatever a student has learned or has been learning over a period of time helps to keep track of the learning process. Hence, teachers can encourage them to keep journals and assign them weekly questions to reflect on. Some of the crucial questions include.

  • What was easiest for me to learn this week, and why?
  • What was most challenging for me to learn, and why?
  • Which strategies worked well?
  • Which study strategies didn’t work well, and what could I do differently next time?
  • Did my study habits work well for me? What effect did they have on my learning?
  • Which study habits could I improve upon next week?
  • What are my targets for next week?

Students can write personal journals in a notebook or use other formats such as mobile phone apps, blogs, mind maps, etc. Moreover, they could use the journal to write ideas and thoughts related to the lessons, questions, or problems they need to clarify.

2. KWL Charts

One of the most useful examples of metacognition is a KWL chart, which is a graphic organiser that aims to help students to sort out information before, during and after a unit or a lesson. The teachers create a chart for the learners to use, with space for them to answer the following questions respectively.

  • What do I know?
  • What do I want to know?
  • What did I learn?

The letters KWL come from Know, want and learn. The first question relates to the learner’s prior knowledge about a particular topic that will be taught. The second question refers to future learning activities; hence students can structure their answers in the form of how, when and why questions.

The last question relates to students reflecting on what the teacher taught and anything they want to know but remain unanswered.

3. Essays

A common misconception amongst students is that essays are a tedious exercise that serves no purpose, but the truth is the opposite. Essays require students to use meta-cognitive skills and describe or elaborate on topics and problems. In addition, it helps them express their views in their words, enabling them to prepare and learn more.

4. Self-direct learning

As soon as a particular student face any problem, they go to the teacher asking for help hence the teacher should establish some ground rules. They can ensure that before approaching use, the students can initially discuss it amongst themselves. Then, engage in brainstorming amongst groups to deeply assess the problem and try to develop an appropriate solution.

The teacher can intervene if the students fail to develop any solution to the problem. This technique is called self-directed learning; it can boost individuality and cultivate problem-solving skills.

5. Mnemonics

Sometimes students have a difficult time remembering important information; hence teachers can implement mnemonics. Mnemonics are words, sentences or phrases that help to retain some information. This allows learners from cognitive overload and focus on higher-level thinking.

6. Exam wrappers

Feedback is an important aspect of a learning management system that enables the teachers to determine what the students have learned and the troubles they are facing. Exam wrappers are worksheets that contain questions to help students think about their performance in a test or exam.

Teachers can provide exam wrappers to students before and after the test, results, or feedback. These worksheets can include questions about how the students prepared for their exams, their strategies, the mistakes they made during exams, etc.

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How To Implement Metacognition Strategies In The Class?

The teacher needs to structure the lesson delivery or plan in four stages: You, Plan, Do, and Review. The You stage refers to giving students a lesson starter where they need to recollect their prior knowledge about a topic and the strategies they have previously used to learn about the same.

In the Plan stage, teachers need to establish clear and specific learning goals, according to which students need to align their strategies. Then, they need to determine the amount of time for them to accomplish a particular task to allocate the amount of time and effort. Also, they need to assess anything that can potentially go wrong and keep a backup plan to mitigate the issue.

The Do stage relates to the students executing the task and monitoring the progress along the way. The teachers can guide the process by giving scaffolds questions and highlighting any areas where they are confused.

In the review stage, the teacher should allow students to take time and review whatever they have learned so far. Simultaneously, encouraging them to reflect upon the strategies they used to achieve the learning goals and the areas which did not go well.

Benefits Of Metacognition In Education

When teachers facilitate metacognition psychology within the students, it helps them to learn independently. They monitor their academic progress and enable them to control their learning.

The strategy also increases their resilience in improving their performance after identifying their successes and failures.

It also helps transmit their knowledge and understanding across varied texts and contexts. This includes reading, writing, mathematics, comprehension, reasoning, etc.

Metacognition in learning is appropriate for all grade students; both primary and secondary school students can benefit from the strategy.

The institute or teacher does not need to invest in any specialist equipment or make any large purchases. However, they need to understand the strategy and implement it successfully properly.

The students will gain awareness about their knowledge and will also understand others’ perspectives. In addition, they will gain self-confidence while dealing with any problem and learn to be self-reliant.

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Posted By:
Gurudev Somani

Gurudev Somani,
Academic Consultant

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