The title should more or less explain my journal entry. It was rather late when I discovered that the set of questions on the open thread discussion of the fifth module was different from what I’ve already answered and since I didn’t want my new learning ( and time) to be put to waste, I decided to share what I have learned here. Anyway, here it goes:
Can we teach metacognition?
Quite frankly, I believe that everything can be taught and learned but the degree of learning may vary depending on the individual’s willingness to learn. Let us review the video presented by Dr. Stephen Chew, professor of Psychology at Samford University in Alabama (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH95h36NChl). In the video, Dr. Chew explained that our beliefs about the nature of learning can greatly determine the individual’s learning outcomes. He went on to explain some of these “beliefs that make one stupid” and I believe that it is through understanding these beliefs that we can teach an individual on how to benefit from metacognition.
According to Dr. Chew, a) most people believe that learning is fast which is actually the exact opposite. Learning requires careful reading and review of materials, answering relevant questions, advance reading of difficult materials as well as a well- thought out plan for assignments, and ALL THOSE take time.
b) Students think that knowledge is composed of isolated facts. Dr. Chew explains that what matters is that you have a comprehension of the concept and not simply memorize it. Sadly though, many students fall for most textbook practices of highlighting terms thinking that memorization of those terms is equivalent to comprehension.
c) Many students believe that an individual can be naturally good or bad at a subject or that it is an inborn talent. Again, nothing is impossible with a little (or, a lot) hard work and it is equally important that you put in the time in order to succeed.
d) A lot of students say that they are good at multi-tasking. It is important to let the students realize that they would need to eliminate distractions (e.g. texting, chatting with friend, checking social media sites etc.). As per Dr. Chew, for each distraction, one decreases the amount of understanding, increases the time to learn and understand a material and increases the chances of getting a bad grade.
I believe that educating students of these “beliefs” can be a starting point for me to teach metacognition together with study strategies on how best to learn plus, a bit of motivation on the side wouldn’t hurt.
How can we facilitate the development of expert thinking?
I believe that this formula below sums up how one can develop expert thinking.
Metacognition + Self-regulation + Reflection = Expert Thinking
Experts are described as being more aware of themselves as learners so it is important that one is made aware of the 4 types of knowledge ( Metacognition).
1. Knowledge about selves as learners – one must know his/her strength, best time for him/her to study, current study habits etc.
2. Knowledge about learning tasks – know what is required for the successful completion of the task, how will performance be evaluated
3. Knowledge about a wide variety of strategies – What cognitive strategies will facilitate the recall of this information? What obstacles in the environment must be removed or sidestepped.
4. Knowledge about the content – What do I know about the topic?
Then comes self- regulation which involves planning, monitoring and evaluating.
Planning is knowing the task demands, available personal resources, and potential matches between the two. Planning serves three purposes: it eases the actual execution of the task, increases the likelihood of successfully accomplishing the task, and it tends to produce a product of quality. Planning involves, setting a goal, sequencing a series of strategies and identifying potential obstacles. Next is monitoring, which is the awareness of what one is doing. This involves mentally checking what one is doing to ensure progress, looking back at the plan to determine if steps are being performed in the correct order and looking forward to steps that need to be performed while carefully attending to what is going on at the moment and paying attention to feedback and making on-going revisions and adjustments when obstacles are encountered. Lastly, evaluating. It is the assessment of both process used and the product that was achieved.
Next is reflection. It is the link between metacognitive knowledge and self- regulation. Reflection makes it possible for learners to use their metacognitive knowledge about task, self and strategies during each stage of the regulatory process: planning, monitoring and evaluating. It allows learners to consider plans made before for a task, assessments, adjustments and revisions made afterwards. Reflection also draws inferences from one’s past experience to create possible action plans for the future.
I believe that these are three basic components for one to achieve expert thinking coupled with long- term practice and feedback.
Should we be concerned about transfer? Why? What can we do about it?
Absolutely. Transfer is important because the real objective of whatever learnings we get from the classroom/ school should be manifested in how we deal with situations in our day-to-day existence. Living without transfer is just like going through life without a purpose.
Transfer can be improved by helping students become more aware of themselves as learners who actively monitor their learning strategies and resources and assess their readiness for particular tests and performances (see module 5: Strategic Learning-Teaching, p.11)
Module 5: Strategic Learning-Teaching