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Metacognition: For Faculty

SACSCOC Quality Enhancement Plan
Metacognition: Learning Through Engagement

At LSUS we educate our students in critical thinking and in so doing we equip them for the workforce. They graduate with life-long, transferable skills. However, according to a recent study cited in the Chronicle of Higher Education (January 16, 2015), "while 59 percent of students said they were well prepared to analyze and solve complex problems, just 24 percent of employers said they had found that to be true of recent college graduates."

How can we close this gap between students’ actual and projected abilities?

One way is to help them become more aware of learning as a process, so that they know specifically how they are learning. This kind of "thinking about thinking" is called metacognition, or, as we like to phrase it, "learning through engagement."

Our Quality Enhancement Plan focuses on a student’s self-knowledge of his or her learning styles as we teach describable and discrete higher-order thinking skills with self-conscious application of those skills to problem-solving.

According to Fogarty, (1994), metacognition is a process that spans three distinct phases. To be successful thinkers, students must do the following:

  1. Develop a plan when approaching a learning task.
  2. Monitor their understanding through the steps of the learning task, adjusting their strategies when they are confused or baffled.
  3. Evaluate their thinking after completing the learning task to see which strategies were successful and which were not.

Fogarty, R. (1994). How to teach for metacognition. Palatine, IL: IRI/Skylight Publishing.

Our QEP will offer strategies for enhancing metacognition in our classes. Watch out for more details on how we can achieve this.

Further Reading:

Borkowski, J., Carr, M., & Pressely, M. (1987). "'Spontaneous' strategy use: Perspectives from metacognitive theory." Intelligence. 11, 61–75

Meichenbaum, D. (1985). "Teaching thinking: A cognitive-behavioral perspective." In S. F., Chipman, J. W. Segal, & R. Glaser (Eds.), Thinking and learning skills, Vol. 2: Research and open questions. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Tanner, Kimberly D. (2012). "Promoting student metacognition." CBE—Life Sciences Education, 11, 113-120.

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