Teaching Students Metacognitive Strategies Improves Grades

We are living in an information,
distraction rich time and multitasking seems to be a common way of navigating
the complexities of reality.  Our youth have grown up observing their
parents juggling multiple responsibilities at one time, while they have also
been immersed in the modern day influx of technology.  As a result, many
young learners have applied their observations to academic endeavors, and
homework is often completed while laying prey to constant interruptions from
social media, online video chatting, texting, television and more.
 Although there is some utility in life to being able to multitask, the
learning process is hindered when attention continually shifts.  In
contrast to this multitasking approach to learning is metacognition, and this can play a critical role in successful learning.
How Can Students Learn to Do Schoolwork with
Greater Efficiency?
The
foundation to instructing students how to maximize their learning potential is
teaching them metacognitive strategies.  Metacognition is often described
as “thinking about thinking,” and it involves higher order reasoning that
actively controls the thought processes engaged in learning. Some other terms that are often used interchangeably with metacognition are self-regulation, and executive control.  Planning a learning approach, self-monitoring comprehension, and evaluating ones progress are examples of metacognitive skills.    
Teaching Metacognitive Approaches:
1.    
Share your own thought processes aloud, so that students can hear how
you think about your own thinking.
2.    
Encourage students to focus on one task at a time from beginning to end.
3.    
Tell students to remove all distractions when completing
schoolwork. 
4.    
Teach students to be aware of their own thought processes through
mindfulness.  Here is another blog that discusses mindfulness
5.    
Instruct students on how to plan and manage their time.  Provide handouts and materials that help them
to think through the process.
6.    
Ask students to create an after-school routine where they schedule
homework time and down time separately.
7.    
Urge students to plan their approach, create deadlines, and report their
intentions to you or a small group of classmates.
8.    
Provide assignments that merely ask students to create a study approach
and have them share their ideas with their classmates. 
9.    
Encourage students to keep a written log of their approach to your
class.  For example, after students get
back tests and assignments, ask them to evaluate their approach.  What worked? 
What didn’t work?  How can they
improve their strategy moving forward?

If
you would like ready made checklists, handouts and assessments that can help
your students develop metacognitive skills, check out the many resources
available in my publication, Planning, Time Management and Organization for Success: Quick and EasyApproaches to Mastering Executive Functioning Skills for Students.

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