So that students can understand how their thinking works, we can apply some metacognitive strategies in the classroom. Metacognition can be defined as the fact of thinking about one’s thought, as the fact of recognizing one’s thought process. Metacognitive strategies in the classroom are an important part of the teaching-learning procedure.
It is important to remember that when we talk about metacognition. We refer to the knowledge that each one has about the own processes of knowledge. Metacognition refers, therefore to the control of the processes we used to learn.
“I am involved in metacognition if I realize that I have more problems learning A than learning B, or if it occurs to me that I must check C before accepting it as a fact.”
We will see, next, some very useful strategies for the classroom to teach metacognitive thinking.
Metacognition strategies in the classroom
Among the approaches to metacognitive instruction found in research, metacognitive modeling is the most commonly used. This modeling involves showing the specific steps to follow when using a strategy while explaining why it is useful — children are applying metacognitive strategies in the classroom.
A popular metacognitive modeling strategy is to think out loud. As a strategy is explained, the steps that are followed are discussed aloud. Questions are asked during the process, resources are identified, and statements are repeated.
After developing a process in which one thinks out loud, the statements made by the teachers and the students in which they say what they have been learning have proven to have very positive results.
Instructions of metacognitive strategies in the classroom
To help students practice the use of metacognitive strategies in the classroom, they should be taught to think about how the strategies are used. Research has found that a very popular method of teaching is implicit instruction. It does not explain how instruction is modeled, so it turns out to be a less effective model for promoting metacognitive thinking.
Teaching with explicit instruction, in which the strategy is modeled and, the thought process behind it is explained, is directly related to positive achievements.
Creation of a curriculum to attract students
Paying attention to aspects and creating an attractive curriculum can help foster metacognition in students. The use of attractive practices to enhance the interests of students provides great opportunities to promote the use of metacognitive skills.
Integration of student evaluation
As time passes, students become familiar with what is needed to meet the teacher’s expectations. They also learn to develop the ability to meet the requirements. An example of how students understand expectations is through evaluation through the use of tests or exams.
Students in the class implementing metacognitive strategies
In tests, normally, there are two types of questions:
- Convergent: Closed questions that require a specific answer.
- Divergent: Open questions that may have several answers.
Ellis notes that researchers have noted that convergent questionnaires tend to be used too much. Several researchers suggest achieving metacognitive thinking in the classroom, divergent questions are important. These are open questions that allow students to reflect and self-control their performance by achieving meta-consciousness.
Guided or independent practice
Another metacognitive teaching strategy is guided or independent practice. Students thus have several ways to practice learning. It can be done guided by the instructor. For example, using examples and feedback, or independently, when students have acquired and demonstrated mastery of a subject.
As instructors, teachers, or educators, the first step in introducing metacognitive strategies in the classroom is to understand why they are important and how they work. Pushing students to think about how they have reached an answer, and breaking their thought process develops skills.