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Improving Metacognition

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Metacognition is the ability to examine how you process thoughts and feelings. This ability encourages students to understand how they learn best. It also helps them to develop self-awareness skills that become important as they get older. People who have developed metacognition are able to assess their thought processes and reframe the way they think to adapt to new situations.

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Metacognitive skills are significant controllers to all duties that we carry out. They help us plan, set goals, solve problems, control activities and correct faults. “Metamemory” is related to students’ consciousness about their own remembrance schemes and the approaches they may apply to utilize their memories efficiently. Metamemory also includes knowledge about the strategy to be used for a specific task, and how to apply a strategy efficiently. Another skill is “Metacomprehension” related to students’ ability to check the level of understanding information when communicating with others and help also in recognizing mistakes and their ability to correct them. Self-Regulation skill is related to the students’ ability to adjust their own learning progression according to their observation and feedback concerning their present condition of learning without any external influence (Calumet, 2011).

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In an increasingly complex and interconnected world it is ever more important that students develop intellectual and practical skills for lifelong learning. " Intentional, or "expert," learners are more purposeful, they are more aware of themselves as learners, and they "take the initiative to diagnose their learning needs, formulate learning goals, identify resources for learning, select an implement learning strategies, and evaluate learning outcomes" (Savin-Baden and Major 2004). Research on cognition and learning (e.g., see review in Bransford et al., 2000) indicates that expert learners are characterized by having better-developed metacognitive knowledge (about the learner, learning tasks, learning strategies, and content), metacognitive control (planning, monitoring, and self-evaluation), and reflection (a critical link between knowledge and control of the learning process) (Ertmer and Newby, 1996).

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Altogether, teachers play a major role in helping the students learn and develop metacognitive strategies. These strategies can be taught and learned; thus, teachers should be able to demonstrate the use of these strategies and provide the students with opportunities to use them. That said, the implication of metacognition in the classroom is that by effectively teaching these strategies to their students, the educators are enabling their students to become better able at coping with their future academic and professional learning challenges, which in turn will make these students more successful individuals. Moreover, metacognition motivates the students to learn, which makes for a positive and engaging atmosphere in the classroom.

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Bransford, J.D., Brown, A.L., and Cocking, A.R. (editors), 2000, How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington D.C., 346 p.

Ertmer, P.A. and Newby, T.J., 1996, The Expert Learner: Strategic, Self-Regulated, and Reflective: Instructional Science, v. 24, p. 1-24.

Savin-Baden M., and Major C.H., 2004, Foundations of Problem-Based Learning: Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press, Berkshire, England, 197 p.

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Improving Metacognition
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