Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Inspiring Progress Toward Learning Goals

The topic of metacognition can seem quite abstract—a complex concept for students to embrace. But it is worth the effort to develop a metacognitive mindset in setting goals for learning and in monitoring progress toward achieving those goals. For teachers empowering students to think about their thinking with the aim of improving learning, it can be truly inspiring when they see the resulting changes in students’ motivation, resilience, and learning gains.

A 2014 study by Veenman and colleagues suggests that metacognition, or “cognition about cognition,” may account for some 40 percent of the variation in learning achievement across a range of outcomes. One of the major benefits of guiding students to become more metacognitive is in the context of goal setting and the impact on their motivation when they take charge of learning goals.

Let’s consider a common scenario.

Learning With—and Without—Metacognition

A student of average motivation (he understands the importance of academic performance and wants to do well in school) has set a goal to get a good grade on an upcoming test. In preparation, he spends 30 minutes the night before the test reading the textbook. He is disappointed when he scores poorly on the test. The student might interpret his low test results to mean that he lacks the ability to learn the material, and consequently begin to disengage from the subject. Discouragement and declining motivation could set in.

Read the entire blog post at Edutopia.

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