Thinking and questioning one’s self has more often than not, proven to be an effective and sure strategy for learning and retention because it helps you apply what you have learnt to new situations.
When students ask themselves questions, they are treading the path to being metacognitive.
Metacognition simply means the awareness, analysis and understanding of one’s own thought processes.
When students are metacognitive, they do not only think…they analyse their thoughts, understand these thoughts and apply them in areas where they are relevant.
This helps in problem solving as they can think up solutions and correct answers – an aspect that is very crucial to social and emotional learning (SEL).
As a teacher, what then can you do to enhance students’ metacognition in the classroom and beyond?
The first step is selecting a topic or focus area. This will help students direct their thinking properly.
The focus also answers the “why?” because students will see the reason why they have to work on that topic based on inferences.
You can ask them to generate topics that are of interest to them or simply write down some topics and ask them to choose.
Think and get resources
Encourage them to brainstorm and gather information.
You can ask them to think up places where they can find more information on the focus topic.
For example, if the topic is about “The life of Martin Luther”, they can get information online or make researches from their books and piece all the information together.
So, they have thought up topics, brainstormed, and come up with information using resources. What’s next?
Evaluate and use
The next step is putting all of these to use.
How best can all of these resources be applied so as to achieve the best results in relation to the “focus”?
Students can evaluate what information is before them and sift through the pile, thinking up the best possible approach to apply this information.
Students must self-evaluate to see if the outcome is what is expected of them. If it isn’t, they can always seek to make changes.
Metacognition is a very powerful tool that students can use to tackle problems and the great part about it is that it can be applied in both academic and social situations.
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