5 Steps To Deeper Learning #4: Metacognition
This is post #4 in the Deeper Learning Series. I wrote it to examine if our students are truly learning and to discuss some tips and strategies that lead to deeper learning, which is learning that involves recall (as opposed to mindless rereading) of concepts, making and correcting mistakes, timely feedback, and metacognition.
The following post discusses metacognition, which is the holy grail of deeper learning. At least to me... Check it out!
To Achieve Deeper Learning, Help Students Practice Metacognition
To me, metacognition is a fancy word for reflection. For instance, when you reflect on how your day went, examine your feelings and thoughts about it, and try to figure out why things happened the way they did, you are doing metacognition. Think about it. What are you thinking? Psych!
Let’s back up…
First, your students recalled information from memory without any aides such as notes etc. and wrote the answer to the question or problem down. Second, they got feedback on their answer. Third, they corrected their mistakes based on the feedback. Fourth...
Have groups look at the two answers, the wrong or incomplete one and the corrected one side by side and analyze them. Ask them to discuss what they did right, wrong, and why. Possible analysis questions are: What were your mistakes? What did you misunderstand or not understand? What did you miss the first time? What did you add? Why were you thinking the wrong answer was correct? What are you thinking now? What have you learned from this? What do you know now that you didn’t before?
You can stimulate this conversation when you circulate from group to group. You can facilitate it by asking some of the questions and hanging around to listen to student responses. You can have them write reflections on paper or a class blog. You can have them record a What not to do and how to do it instead group video or one explaining a common misconception and why it happens. Whatever you do, have your students analyze what they knew before, what they know now, and how this understanding changed.
Some students might think it’s doing too much, in which case you might want to yell at, smack, or at the very least give them a death stare. But you must resist! Be sensible and tell them why you’re having them do this.
Analysis helps students realize that even when they think they know and understand a concept, a lot of information and understanding eludes them the first, second, or third time. Many learners experience illusion of competency. They think they have a concept down, only to find out later they have some misconceptions about it. Others may suffer from the illusion of explanatory depth, which is similar. They believe they’ve got all the facts, but later discover there are major gaps in their knowledge or understanding of the concept.
These illusions happen all the time when information giving isn’t followed by lots of processing through doing. And the doing must involve smart practice, not just rereading of notes or solving problems while looking at the example given by the instructor. Smart practice involves reflecting on their own thinking, processing, and learning as a whole. It involves metacognition. And you can take it a step further with collaboration. That’s what post 5 in the series is all about. See ya!
You Have The Power To Change The World. Use It Often.
For more Deeper Learning ideas check out my book "Crush School." The Amazon Kindle version is 40% off until January 15th. Just click on the image below.