A trip to the land of metacognition



On Wednesday 16.12.2015, I went to Bern to join the workshop ‘A Trip to the Land of Metacognition’ organized by the Swiss Faculty Development Network (SFDN), given by Denis Berthiaume. In this Blog, I will report on the main components we learned about.







To reach the targets students want to reach, they need to use their metacognitive knowledge, skills and strategies. The metacognitive knowledge stands for the knowledge students have (or do not have) to figure out what to learn (what is important). In my interpretation, the knowledge about ‘how to learn’ (for example that using previous knowledge helps you to learn) also fits in here. The ability to implement this knowledge, however, is what is meant with the metacognitive skills. Both come together when we focus on metacognitive strategies: when and why to use which knowledge and skills.

After the introduction where the model above was explained, we discussed the following question: ‘how can we teach in order to foster the development of students’ metacognition?’ We discussed for example the following methods: modeling (think-aloud protocols), guided practice (coaching, scaffholding and fading), cooperative and collaborative learning and autonomous learning (with learning journal/helpful tools could be Mahara & PeddlePad).

Now the (difficult) question for us as faculty developers is: ‘how do we get teachers’ attention for metacognition?’ ‘How can we help them to integrate fostering metacognition in their lectures and seminars?’ One of the inspiring ideas I learned about in the workshop was ‘scenario writing’, whereby teachers are asked to write out their lectures from A to Z. By making their plans visible, it’s easier to find space / time to implement these methods.

This last question is not easy, and I would appreciate your thoughts on how you try to reach and convince lecturers.