Workshop Overview

Note: this workshop has already taken place. Workshop presentations and summaries of discussions are available on the program page; participants' posters, essays, and submitted activities are available via the participants page.

This workshop provided opportunities to understand the role of metacognition in learning and to discuss the application of this understanding to specific examples in the geosciences. We showcased teaching that directly addresses metacognition, including examples of strategies for helping students to become aware of their thinking and learning processes and using this awareness in one's teaching.

The goals of the workshop were to:

  • Develop a more sophisticated understanding of the role that metacognition plays in geoscience learning.
  • Consider ways in which teaching can address the role of metacognition and collect examples of current practice.
  • Collect examples of activities, assessments and observation protocols that shed light on metacognition.
  • Create a network of leaders in geoscience education and cognitive science who can increase the geoscience community's understanding of the role of metacognition in teaching and learning.

Workshop activities included large and small group discussions, demonstrations, and planning/writing sessions. Instructional materials and other information were organized and compiled as collections of digital resources for use in the Earth Sciences throughout the world.

This workshop is one of the 2008-09 emerging themes offerings which are designed to move critical ideas and concepts into the mainstream of geoscience education. Participants are sought who are leaders in the field and are committed to participating in follow-on activities. For further information of emerging theme workshops, potential follow-on activities, and action plans investigate our general description of these workshops or examples from previous years' workshops on The Role of the Affective Domain in Geoscience Learning and Teaching Public Policy in the Earth Sciences.


The workshop began on Wednesday afternoon, November 19, 2008 at 5:00 PM and ended after dinner on Friday, November 21. Participants must attend all sessions.


Participants were expected to:

  • Contribute a narrative essay that addresses the teaching of metacognition, to be posted on the workshop website. Contribution of a teaching activity that incorporates metacognition is also encouraged.
  • Prepare in advance for workshop discussions via readings, writings, discussion or other activities developed by workshop leaders.
  • Participate fully in the entire workshop.
  • Be leaders in follow-on activities.


The operational costs of the workshop as well as room, board, and workshop materials are covered by a grant from the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE-0127310). Participants or their home institutions must provide transportation to and from the workshop. In cases of unusual hardship, we will be able to offer a few small stipends to help defray travel costs (application deadline Oct. 10, 2008). For more information about travel funds please visit the workshop stipends page.

Application and Selection Criteria

Your application must be submitted by October 10, 2008. The workshop size is limited to 30 participants. The final list of participants will be established with the goal of assembling a group with expertise in geoscience education, the role of metacognition in learning, and the teaching of metacognition, as well as a spectrum of institutional settings and teaching experiences, and a diversity of participants. Preference is given to applicants who hold faculty positions at colleges and universities. Applicants will be notified of selection in late October. For more information visit the general information for workshop participants page.


The workshop was held at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Participants were housed in a hotel and ate meals on campus and in the town.

For More Information

Please contact Cathy Manduca (, 507 222-7096).