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Commonplace Book Entry #3
Transcript of Commonplace Book Entry #3
University of Southern California
November 22, 2012
Prof. Soo Park
Commonplace Book Entry #3:
Musings on Metacognition
What is Metacognition? What does Donndelinger (2008)
say about metacognition and
the use of metacognitive strategies? In addition to theories and research that indicate the benefits of promoting a classroom where students learn to be metacognitive, personal experiences have also reinforced this position... In their discussion of Facet #6: Self-Knowledge, Wiggins and McTighe (2005) write, “Metacognition refers to self-knowledge about how we think and why, and the relation between our preferred methods of learning and our understanding (or lack of it)” (p. 101). Here is Ormrod’s (2011) definition of metacognition: “Metacognition encompasses knowledge and beliefs about the nature of human cognitive processes, reflection on one’s own cognitive processes, and conscious attempts to engage in behaviors and thought processes that increase learning and memory” (p. 250). This video provides great overview of metacognition: In his discussion of metacognition, Donndelinger (2008) acknowledges that strategies such as SQ3R are effective, but he expresses that the way we are metacognitive is not always consistent with the sequencing of steps taught by these strategies. He explains: “The metacognitive skills used in authentic reading seldom, if ever, occur in the step and sequence described. In fact, they are more complex than most 20th-century researchers imagined” (p. 242). I take this to mean that our experiences as metacognitive learners are dynamic and unique to the individual, which is an assertion I agree with. For example, if I utilize the “SPQ3R” model in my reading, I might rearrange the steps of the strategy as I work to optimize my learning experience, even though the prescribed steps mandated by the strategy and taught by the teacher may indicate otherwise. Each person is metacognitive in his or her own way, and our intention as teachers is to help students become aware of how they can hone their metacognitive skills, not how well they can follow a prescribed series of steps in a rigid order. Donndelinger expounds on his claims by stating that “it is impossible to separate and isolate these [metacognitive] reading processes as in traditional methods, because each reaches into and across all the others” (p. 245). I definitely agree with this notion of interdependence among reading processes. And while I am a huge fan of all of the wonderful strategies that I am being exposed to in the MAT program, I definitely see how being adaptive to new ways of doing things in order to meet the needs of your learners is an essential part of being a new teacher. Thus, if I use a strategy such as “SPQ3R” or “Think-Alouds,” I think that it will be important to let students know that while I am modeling the strategy in a certain way, not everybody’s way of employing these strategies will be identical. I do think that a case can be made against Donndelinger, by stating that the structure of the strategy needs to be emphasized, but he answers this by talking about his PROMISE acronym. He writes: “The PROMISE acronym is designed to help students learn and remember the metacognitive thought process, but – contrary to its predecessors – it should not be taught in discrete, sequenced steps” (p. 245). What does the PROMISE model include?
Building on prior knowledge
Making an overview of text organization
Developing sensitivity to person, place,, and style
The use of thought webs, graphic organizers, note-taking
PROMISE PAL grouping and self-evaluations(pp. 258 - 259).
When I left to college, I was not armed with study skills or an awareness of how metacognition could help me to improve my learning. I was not explicitly told that certain strategies might be helpful to me, but I really wish that my teachers had instilled that awareness in me and my classmates at an early age. I recall being in a freshman seminar, where many kids’ books were all marked up, and it hit me that I should be doing the same thing. Prior to this experience, I did not realize that my retention of content could be enhanced by marking up my books. Instead, I used a highlighter to brighten all of my books from top to bottom, and frequently I would highlight whole paragraphs mostly because I thought it looked scholarly. I also failed to indicate why the information I highlighted was important, because a lot of that information should not have been highlighted to begin with. Needless to say, this strategy was incredibly ineffective when I referenced a text a second and third time. In terms of reading strategies, in secondary school I had never been introduced to a “Think Aloud,” “SPQ3R,” or any other strategies, and because of this I know that I was at a big disadvantage in college. As a teacher, it will be my goal not to let this happen to my students. I can see great value in using these techniques in my own classroom. For example, I love the idea of using response or dialectical journals to get students reflecting on the their experiences with a text and how what they are reading connects to their prior knowledge base. I also think that making both written self assessments and informal checks for understanding regular parts of the classroom routine will help students recognize the value in being conscious of monitoring their learning. Overall, the ideas outlined in the Donndelinger text will be quite helpful as I consider the issue of metacognition in my classroom. Here is a short video of how one teacher uses metacognition in her classroom: In addition to teaching and using strategies aimed at promoting metacognition, I also plan to approach my teaching practices from a metacognitive, reflective perspective. In my 516 class, we learned about the importance of reflection through using the Rodgers’ cycle (2002) and considering how being present, describing, analyzing, and experimenting are critical to helping us evolve as teachers. I plan to self-assess my progress and ask myself questions such as: What worked today, and what didn’t? How can I modify that lesson so that it can be more powerful, or yield more productive results? How can I more efficiently manage my time so that we will not have the issues we had in class today? etc. On a final note, as I considered metacognition for this project, I could not help but reflect on how I can improve my own learning as a student in the MAT program. For example, I have noticed that I frequently find myself thinking about a particular article and not remembering who wrote it. It is very interesting that the content of some scholarly articles is easily retrievable to me and I immediately know the name of the scholar who wrote about a certain topic, whereas some readings seem to leave less of an imprint on my long-term memory. So, in response to my metacognitive thoughts on the matter, next semester I plan to keep a database on my computer where I arrange the names of authors and articles that I read next to topic keywords so that I can easily access them. For example, under the topic “metacognition,” I would immediately include Donndelinger (2008), Ormrod (2011), and Wiggins and McTighe (2005). This could greatly be enhanced by also including important quotations next to the author, so that I can simultaneously have a place to store information for use in papers and also have access to a mini-synopsis of the article. Now that I think about it, an additional feature of this database can also include the APA style citation for these articles, so that if they are referenced in the future, I will just have to copy and paste the citation into my references section. Based on previous metacognitive reflections on my study skills as a student, I already know that I work best when I am well rested and when I have a cup of coffee or green tea as I begin to work. I also use aromatherapy to help me stay focused and on task. Likewise, I know that I have to allocate a large chunk of time to complete my readings because I like to write out notes and annotate hard copies of articles by underlining important quotations and making comments of what I am thinking about. I also know that I am sometimes unsuccessful at reading if it is late and night and I am exhausted. I have learned when I just need to put the work away in order to get some rest so that I can try again in the morning. Finally, I am well aware that I need to work on editing down my writing so that it is not so verbose, such as is the case with this paragraph and my non-essential details of my reliance on aromatherapy and green tea when I am studying. References
Creedwalk. (2012, Feb. 17). Brief Intro to
Metacognition [Video File.] Retrieved on
November 22, 2012.
Donndelinger, S. J. (2005). Integrating
comprehension and metacognitive reading
strategies. In S. E. Israel, C. C. Block, K. L.
Bauserman, K. Kinnucan-Welsch, (Eds.),
Metacognition in literacy learning: Theory, assessment, instruction and professional development, (pp. 241-261). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Knatim. (2010, Nov. 12). Word Study in Action:
Building Metacognition [Video File.] Retrieved on November 22, 2012.
Ormrod, J. E. (2011). Educational Psychology:
Developing Learners. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
Rodgers, C. (2002). Seeing student learning:
Teacher change and the role of reflection.
Harvard Educational Review, 72(2), 230-253.
Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by
Design (expanded 2nd ed.).
Alexandria, VA: Merrill Education/ASCD.