Guide To Teaching and Learning

Metacognitive Reflection on Learning

Metacognitive practices have been demonstrated to improve student learning by promoting attention to learning. Metacognition helps students become conscious of their many  unconscious behaviors and practices and how that impacts their ability to learn. This three-minute video offers a brief introduction.

When the semester begins, faculty might ask students to think about what they’ve learned about themselves as learners through the experience of remote and online instruction and the transition to in-person learning.

  • What practices did they take up that they might like to continue? 
  • What practices, activities or situations did they notice interfered with their ability to concentrate?
  • What changes did they observe between their learning prior to the pandemic and now?

On an ongoing basis, faculty might ask students to ask themselves:

  • Had I slept well and how might that have affected my engagement in a discussion?
  • How did I go about approaching the assignment, what frame of mind was I in? 
  • Had I eaten anything and how did that affect my concentration? 
  • What chair was I in and was it so comfortable I fell asleep? 
  • What was difficult for me in watching this recorded lecture and why might that have been? 
  • How was I holding my body during the discussion? 
  • What did I do when I noticed my mind had wandered during the demo? 
  • How many times did I check my phone when I was reading that paragraph?

These kinds of practices–being self aware and self aware of oneself as a learner–can help students explore what works and what doesn’t in their learning. These types of reflection can also help students explore their mindset on any given activity and begin to identify when they might be operating from a fixed mindset and therefore actually impeding their own learning.

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