Metacognition – What is It??

Metacognition is “learning how to learn.” This means that students learn how to think about how they learn best, by learning strategies for planning, monitoring, and evaluating their learning.

We can also call this “self-regulated learning.” The purpose of metacognition, or self regulated learning, is to give students a “toolkit” of strategies to choose from for a given learning task.

An example of a metacogntive strategy is “self-questioning.” If a student has a task to read a text and answer a number of questions about the text afterwards, he/she would learn to ask themselves:

  • Did I miss something? Maybe I should check again.
  • Did I follow the all the rules correctly?
  • How could I do better next time?
  • Am I looking at this task the right way?
  • How can I do a better job at thinking about what I’m doing?

Learning metacognitive strategies and using them – which implies a motivation on the part of the student – has been shown to have an average impact of an additional 7 months progress over a year.

Source: Metacognition and Self-Regulation: the Education Endowment Foundation Teaching and Learning Toolkit

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