Promoting Student Metacognition in the Classroom

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Thinking about Thinking

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Mini-Course: Promoting Student Metacognition in the Classroom

My Topic and Purpose

I have always had a fascination with how students think about the subjects and corresponding curriculum that they work through during their time in school. Most specifically, during my time teaching I have always wondered why when students make mistakes or experience misconceptions with content they often don’t appear to understand what is wrong about their way of thinking. What I have come to find is that very few students have the ability to recognize and evaluate their levels of metacognitive understanding. They are unable to step back and look at their comprehension of a topic and assess what is wrong with their line of reasoning and make corrections at the point at which they have made a mistake. This has led me to the topic and purpose of my mini-course which will be aiding teachers in Promoting Students’ Metacognitive Reasoning in the Classroom. It is my belief that if instructors can help students achieve a better understanding of what metacognition is and how it can be beneficial to their overall comprehension of content and its corresponding processes then students will experience accelerated levels of knowledge gains. These knowledge gains will not only be content specific but in turn they will also help a learner identify weaknesses in their learning process that they can then use their strengths to support. This metacognitive foundation begins with teachers promoting healthy practices and activities that allow students to easily visualize and assess their personal understanding. This course will help teachers routinely incorporate these types of practices and have all their students engaging with metacognition.

Needs Assessment

1. Instructional Problem:

Across all levels of education students engage in varying levels of metacognition. Most students have never heard the term metacognition or its definition, but they may or may not be engaging with metacognitive practices. Unfortunately it is often the case that unless students are inherently able to engage in these practices they get little to no instruction in classrooms as to what metacognition is and how it can benefit their learners. This is only the fault of their educators if they deliberately choose not to teach students these skills, but it is most often the case that educators do not have the understanding or tools at their disposal to effectively implement metacognitive practices in their classrooms. This mini course will address this enormous deficiency.

Metacognition simply is thinking about one’s thinking, but more formally defined as a critical awareness of one’s thinking and learning as well as awareness of oneself in the role of a thinker or learner (Chick, 2013). Students who can obtain a heightened level of metacognitive understanding are more likely to see a positive impact on their learning. There are frequently measurable differences that exist between students with adept metacognitive skills and those who do not have those same skills (Kim, 2015). If educators are able to develop these skills in their students then they also often have the confidence to self-regulate their own learning and in turn empowers them to become more inquisitive about new topics to which they are introduced. (Mahdavi, 2014)

2. Nature of what is to be learned:

As a result of this course participants will learn the formal definition of metacognition as it relates to education and their learners. They will also learn how to assess their learners to gain an understanding of their current level of metacognitive abilities. They will also be provided some simple but impactful activities that they can perform in their classrooms in order to promote the development of metacognitive skills among learners. Lastly they will become informed about the importance of routine building of these skills and be provided skills that will allow them to integrate metacognitive practices routinely into their daily classroom agendas.

3. The Learners:

This course is geared towards teachers who value self-regulated learning in their classrooms. Teachers who want their students to think critically and problem solve through inquiry based approaches will benefit immensely from this course. Meaningful metacognitive teaching is difficult to implement initially, and participants in this course must be dedicated to working through those difficulties in order to have their students elevate their skills surrounding metacognition.


As a result of this course participants will be able to:

  • Correctly define metacognition as it relates to their students and relay its meaning to the students
  • Independently construct learning activities directly related to the development of metacognition in students.
  • Schedule their courses around regular development of metacognitive skills.
  • Have their students recognize their strengths and weaknesses based upon their understanding of their personal metacognitive abilities.

Course Units

Unit 1: What is Metacognition?

  1. Participants will learn formal and informal definitions of metacognition.
  2. Participants will explore how metacognition can benefit their learners understanding
  3. Participants will explore how metacognition can make their students more self-regulated learners.
  4. Participants will reflect on their knowledge of metacognition.

Unit 2: Assessing and Supporting the Development of Students' Metacognition.

  1. Participants will learn how to get a baseline measure of students levels of metacognition.
  2. Participants will learn how to gauge students understanding of the concept of metacognition
  3. Participants will reflect on their experiences with students metacognition.

Unit 3: Implementing Classroom Strategies for Development of Metacognition.

  1. Participants will research and explore methods of instruction that promote the development of metacognition.
  2. Participants will select methods they feel would work best in their own classrooms.
  3. Participants will create a mock schedule of how they can take their selected methods and incorporate them into their daily or weekly agenda.

References and Resources

Chick, N. (2013). Metacognition. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. Retrieved [todaysdate] from

Kim, C., Park, S. W., Cozart, J., & Lee, H. (2015). From motivation to engagement: the role of effort regulation of virtual high school students in mathematics courses. Educational Technology & Society, 18(4), 261+.

Mahdavi, M. (2014). An overview: Metacognition in education. International Journal of Multidisciplinary and current research, 2(6), 529-535.

Web Resources:,as%20a%20thinker%20and%20learner.