Unit 1: Metacognition: The Framework of Self-Reflection


Erica Riekert's Portfolio Page | Introduction: Reimagining Language Arts Instruction | Unit 2: Incorporating Student Agency and Decision-Making in Reading

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Unit Kick Off

Before you dive into this unit, let's assess your background knowledge and develop an objective for learning more about metacognition.

Fill out the following KWL Chart on Padlet. Think about what you know and what you want to know. You will fill out what you learned at the end of this unit.

What is Metacognition?

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Have you ever been asked the following esoteric question on a college application, "What type of learner are you?" Or read a page of your book to not recall what you just read? Not knowing what type of learner you are or what you just read creates an awareness forcing you to employ a recovery strategy to help complete and capture the meaning of the task. This awareness of knowing and not knowing is metacognition. Your recovery strategy includes the three phases of metacognition- planning, monitoring, and evaluating.

Watch the following video from the Skillful Learning series on metacognition. This video introduces metacognition, its phases' relevance, and how to apply it to become a more skillful learner.

What does this mean for my students?

It means that when students use metacognitive strategies, they understand how they learn. Planning, monitoring, and evaluating help students identify how they gain, retain, and transfer new knowledge. Metacognitive strategies motivate students to take agency over their learning through active participation. When students actively participate in learning, they ultimately become their own teachers. They set goals, seek additional information to aid in meeting their goals, and determine different ways to solve problems. Metacognitive strategies directly lend themselves to creating lifelong autonomous learners.

Promoting Metacognition in the Classroom

According to the Smithsonian Science Education Center, educators can promote metacognition using the following strategies:

  • “Think aloud” while you walk them through a problem
  • Model coping strategies, make mistakes, and show them how you persevere in the face of adversity
  • Ask them to discuss how they approach problems
  • Develop concept mapping
  • Create reminder checklists
  • Engage in self-questioning
  • Generate annotated drawings
  • Participate in reciprocal teaching ("That's so (Meta)cognitive," 2022).

Watch the following video from the Smithsonian Science Education Center to help integrate different metacognitive strategies into your teaching to help students become more effective learners.

Check For Understanding

Use the following quiz to review your progress.

Active Engagement: Self-Reflection

Before moving forward, take a moment to self-reflect. Think about yourself as an educator. How do you apply metacognitive strategies to your teaching? Use the following Padlet to share your response.

Applying Metacognitive Strategies into Teaching

Teaching Using the Three Metacognitive Stages:

  • The Planning Stage: You plan your lessons and consider the different variables that may impact your teaching. For instance, time restraints, prior knowledge, and differentiation.
  • The Monitoring Stage: During instruction, you monitor how your students react to the information learned during the lesson. If there seems to be confusion, you adjust accordingly to meet each learner's needs.
  • The Evaluation Stage: You allow your students time to reflect on their learning. Were they successful in achieving their learning goal? What strategies were most helpful? Where is there room for improvement? What would they do differently next time?  

When you use these strategies in instruction, you provide your students with the basic framework of self-reflection. This framework leads to higher achievement levels, student autonomy, social-emotional growth, and resilience. Students use this framework to take control over their learning both inside and outside of the classroom. They can identify their strengths, acknowledge where there is room for improvements, and set goals to bridge that gap. As an educator, you use teaching methods to infuse metacognitive strategies through modeling rather than direct instruction.

Active Engagement: What Did I Learn?

Using the same KWL Chart on Padlet, fill out what you learned about metacognition.

References and Resources

Fogarty, R.J.,  & Pete, B.M. (2020). Metacognition: The Neglected Skill Set for Empowering Students. Solution Tree Press and Hawker Brownlow Education.

That's so (Meta)cognitive. (2022, November 25). Smithsonian Science Education Center. https://ssec.si.edu/stemvisions-blog/thats-so-meta-cognitive

Next Unit: Unit 2: Incorporating Student Agency and Decision-Making in Reading