- Articulate and change their beliefs about learning
- Identify ways to plan and set their learning goals
- Practice monitoring and adapting their learning strategies
Context for Use
The first exam in a class often holds an opportunity for metacognitive teaching. At this point the student is arguably most open to hearing your message, especially if their outcome is less than they had hoped. One way to employ metacognitive teaching in this situation is to ask students to assess how well prepared they feel prior to the exam, an example of the kinds of questions they anticipate being on the exam, and a detailed list of how they are preparing for the exam. Once they have answered these questions, presumably prior to the day they will take the exam, the instructor may use the opportunity to pull out a few examples to present (without the author's name) and discuss. The students then take the exam. After the exam and before the grades are recorded the students can be asked how well they think they did and where they had the greatest difficulty.
Description and Teaching Materials
Teaching Notes and Tips
The elephant in the room with teaching metacognition is that it will siphon time from teaching content. It would not be unreasonable to expect that such teaching would happen by people trained in metacognitive theory and practice in a separate class (presumably before they arrive in your class). Such expectations, however, will likely be foolhardy.
Ironically our desire to expose our students to the breadth of our discipline is at odds with taking the time to try to deepen the learning in class. Hence, there is a fundamental hurdle for geoscientists to accept that it is unlikely our students will learn deeply unless we offer training in how to reflect, how to make meaningful analogies and how to adapt their learning over time.
To assess the impact of this intervention you will need to obtain pre-first-exam self-assessments from the students. These can be simple questions like "How well do you think you will do on this exam?" and "What study strategies did you use with estimates of time for each" should be administered prior to when the exam is distributed. This should be matched by a similar question after they've taken the exam and before they see the results to identify how they think they did but with the additional question of how, in retrospect, they think they would have altered their study strategy.