Over the past week, I've been reviewing the sets of pages written by each of the Change Agent teams, and I've been struck by just how many of you say that teaching your students about metacognition and metacognitive strategies has been a game-changer for them and for you. Teaching students how to learn has been an ongoing theme throughout the SAGE 2YC project, so maybe this shouldn't surprise me:
The three things I have heard about or read, from many Change Agents, is that you now
Bloom's Taxonomy for the cognitive domain, with examples from geology
Provenance: Carol Ormand Ph.D., Carleton College
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Explicitly teach your students about Bloom's taxonomy for the cognitive domain, as Saundra McGuire describes in her book, Teach Students How to Learn: Strategies You Can Incorporate Into Any Course to Improve Student Metacognition, Study Skills, and Motivation
. In one of my first semesters of teaching, I gave one of my classes an assignment that required students to analyze and critique an excerpt from a research paper. My students did an excellent job of summarizing the excerpt, but they did not analyze it. I recognized that they hadn't understood what I wanted them to do, so I changed my plans for class the day I handed back the assignment, and I showed them Bloom's taxonomy for the cognitive domain. I also explicitly said that analyzing is harder than summarizing. And I could see the light bulbs flashing on above their heads. It was AMAZING. The next time I gave them a similar assignment, they all rose to the challenge. It was so much more satisfying to me, and also to them.
Encourage students to match their studying habits to the level of cognitive activity required for assignments and exams, like Jenny McFarland does. Once your students are familiar with Bloom's taxonomy for the cognitive domain, they have a tool for figuring out how to study efficiently and effectively, for the level of mastery that an instructor expects. You can make this as explicit as you want; as Jenny describes in her Musing, Using Bloom's Taxonomy to boost student metacognition
, she will "ask students to 'Identify the level of Bloom's Taxonomy for each of these questions' to build their metacognitive practice and help them be able to differentiate between a knowledge level question and a question that requires analysis or synthesis."
Incorporate metacognitive "wrappers" around exams or other course activities. Wrappers are metacognitive activities that "wrap" around other activities. For example, if you alert students to the key ideas of a lecture at the beginning and end of a class period, that's a lecture wrapper. If you ask students to reflect on their study strategies and how well those strategies worked when you return an exam, and then have students review those reflections shortly before the next exam, that's an exam wrapper.
Are there other metacognitive activities you have incorporated into your teaching? What are they?
Bloom, Benjamin S., 1956 (Editor). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain . Longmans, New York, NY.
McGuire, Saundra, 2015 Teach Students How to Learn: Strategies You Can Incorporate Into Any Course to Improve Student Metacognition, Study Skills, and Motivation. Stylus Publishing, Sterling, VA.