What are your students really thinking? While we may not know the answer to this question, all the time, we can help students raise their awareness of their own thinking processes and become better at improving their thinking skills.
Metacognition refers to the skill or ability to think about our thinking — more specifically, the ability to consider what we know, how to assess what we know, and when to access the appropriate information or call on the skills necessary to be successful at a task or endeavor.
Scott Jaschick and Maryellen Weimer explain that teaching metacognitive skills as part of your course may make the difference not only in students learning and retaining the material, but in boosting their confidence to learn content in the future.
Students, even in upper-level classes, are frequently unaware of whether or not they have actually learned course content–even though they assume they have mastered it.
Here are some sample metacognitive questions you can use to engage your students in reflecting on their own experiences as learners–during the course itself–to facilitate their growth and improvement over time. You may wish to start with just one or two questions and use them more than once over the course of the semester to provide students with practice in thinking this way about themselves and their learning.
- How have I prepared for class today?
- What’s the best way for me to prepare for a class like this one?
- What questions do I have?
- Why did I miss those exam questions/do poorly on this project or paper?
- What do I need to do to do better next time?
(modified from list provided by Maryellen Weimer ).
Here you can find a good overview of metacognition as well as a list of how to help students learn metacognitive skills. You can also register for the next Part-time Faculty Institute session, “Promoting Metacognition in the Classroom” on Thursday, February 21, from 5:30-7:30 in the Delphi Center for more information.
What are some ways that you encourage your students to think about their thinking in order to be successful in your course?