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At the completion of the session, participants will be able to: 1) define and describe key elements of metacognitive learning, 2) articulate best practices for engaging students in their metacognitive development, 3) adapt instructional materials for the participant’s own teaching context, 4) identify types of responses students may give to prompts eliciting self-examination of their approaches to learning, 5) formulate constructive and positive formative feedback to support student development as learners, and 6) explain how seeing students develop as learners can make teaching more rewarding.
Metacognition is often used as a nebulous term referring to “thinking about thinking,” but this description obscures its function and utility in learning. Broadly, but more specifically, metacognition involves our knowledge and regulation of our thinking processes. While everyone is metacognitively active to one degree or another, we all have room to grow and benefit from improving our metacognitive skills. In particular, many students persist in predominantly using surface approaches to learning, such as rehearsal and memorization, but could benefit greatly from more elaborative and organizational approaches associated with deeper learning (e.g., transferable and lasting learning). This workshop focuses on understanding metacognition, modules instructors can use to engage students in their metacognitive development, and a tool for providing supportive feedback to students about their approaches to learning. Findings from our National Science Foundation-funded research inform this workshop.
This will be an interactive session, alternating between brief instructional periods, individual and group work time, and open discussions. In the first half of the workshop participants will learn about metacognition by taking part in a subset of modules developed as part of the NSF-funded research project for engaging students in their metacognitive development. There are six modules in total, each composed of a short video with reflective questions, an in-class activity, and a post-class assignment. Importantly, the modules are designed to fit within existing courses. All questions and activities are aimed at increasing students’ self-awareness of their learning processes, improving the accuracy of students’ self-assessments of learning, or providing opportunities to practice metacognitive skills. Participants will complete one module, using a student perspective, which will set up the second half of the workshop.
In the second half of the workshop, participants will practice assessing their imagined student responses and actual student responses to prompts about their metacognitive awareness and behavior. Then participants will practice generating positive and constructive formative feedback in support of students’ metacognitive development. These assessments and feedback will be grounded in the metacognitive indicator rubric, a tool developed to aid instructors in efficiently generating meaningful feedback for students. Significant time in the second half will be devoted to engaging participants in adapting materials to their context, sharing their products, and supportive discussion.
Acknowledgements: This workshop is based on research supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 1433757, 1433645, & 1150384. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Dr. Patrick Cunningham
Dr. Cunningham is a Collaborating-PI on the NSF research project this workshop is based on and has extensive practice implementing these modules and working with students to develop their metacognitive skills. Through other projects Dr. Cunningham also has significant experience facilitating faculty learning communities, leading curriculum change, and designing and implementing other materials and experiences to support students’ success through developing metacognitive and selfregulatory skills.
Dr. Holly M Matusovich
Dr. Matusovich is a Collaborating-PI on the NSF research project this workshop is based on. Dr. Matusovich has research expertise using motivation and metacognition frameworks to examine student learning and faculty teaching. She is well versed in qualitative and mixed methods research.
Sarah Anne Williams
Ms. Williams is the current primary graduate research assistant working with the PIs on the NSF research project this workshop is based on. Sarah offers expertise with the metacognitive indicator rubric through its development and analysis.