Life & Style | Education

The strategies of metacognition

A child should assess what she is learning

  • By Dr Clifton Chadwick Special to 
Gulf News
  • Published: 07:00 January 20, 2013
  • Gulf News

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Organising ideas in groups or chunks

When your child is using grouping, chunking and selective combination to learn, you will want to remind her to pay attention to the techniques she is using to learn. Metacognitive questions should include things like,

On what basis are you organizing the concepts? Part, whole, class, chain?

Do you have enough information to organize the ideas in the way you are trying to do so?

Are you using previous learning to help organize what is new?

Is the organization helping you to understand and remember the relations between the elements?

Using images as tools of learning

When your child is using images, episodes or mnemonics in learning, you can imagine many questions to help increase his or her awareness of how they are using the images and what they are learning.

What is in this image? What does it say to you?

How does it relate to the concept, idea or rule you are learning?

How does the image remind you of the concept?

How does the image relate to the schema or structure you are developing?

When you have to memorise something new do you construct mental images to help you remember?

Comparisons and contrast

When your child is using comparison and contrast, metaphors and analogies in learning, you can imagine many questions to help increase her awareness of how she is using the images to help in learning.

How well did I do in making up comprehension questions?

Did you focus on the meaning and significance of new information?

How well did I explain it to others?

How well did I discuss today’s lesson?

How well do I think I understand today’s lesson?

Did I summarise what I learned after I finished?

How will a child child assess what she is learning?

The well-developed awareness and metacognition of your child allows him or her to be “on track” with what they are learning, to be conscious of learning when it is necessary to be conscious, to make comments like,

So far I’ve learned… (very important knowledge of progress)

This made me think of…

That didn’t make sense (important awareness event)

I think _____ will happen next

I reread that part because it was not clear….

I was confused by

I think the most interesting part was….

I wonder why…

I just thought of….

Declarations of intent (of having learnt well)

After some time working her way through the learning process, your child’s metacognitive thoughts should evolve into more positive feelings like:

I am not confused, I feel relaxed, I am in control of what I learn.

I have enough information

I am confident in my ability to understand this subject

I can solve problems within this area or subject

I know I know how to learn new material

I am sure that I know how to learn this subject

I know what I have learned from this lesson that I can use later in life.

Note that while the comments are metacognitive, that is self-awareness; they also are emotional, with strong implications for perceived self-efficacy.

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