Working toward self-regulation: Metacognition

Metacognition is the process of thinking about thinking. It is the first of three main processes and capabilities that work together for self-regulation. A student who is metacognitive about their study, is practiced in reflecting productively on the way they are working toward a goal, and whether they are working in the right ways for the ultimate achievement of that goal. They will be able to identify the underpinning tasks that need to be accomplished. They will also be able to put in place self-checks to ensure they stay on track. Metacognition works best when a student takes responsibility for the outcomes of their efforts. That is, that they have an internal locus of control. They accept and believe that outcomes are directly attributable to their own efforts. So let’s look at effort …

Effort is combination of the nature and direction of applied force this includes things like time management, applied attention combined with an understanding of the task set and effective processes to unpack component elements. Students often misapply efforts in application and direction. This is where metacognition comes in to assist. Basically the student should work through a cycle of self-questions:

So as Learning Coaches, what do we need to do? We need to teach how to unpack a set task into component tasks. We need to identify the appropriate sequencing of component task. This includes identifying when/where help might need to be sought. It also includes teaching the metacognition cycle of self-questions to support self-monitoring of progress.

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