Metacognition is thinking about thinking (or knowing about knowing, cognition about cognition). In the context of instruction, it is an instructional strategy teachers use to model the thinking behaviors necessary to complete a task. In math, teachers can use metacognition to teach students how to process a complex math problem.
Tips & Tricks
- Be Explicit: When walking students through your thinking process be as explicit as possible. Use words like, “I am thinking,” pause, and point to your head. Being explicit helps students to understand exactly what you are doing. When describing your thinking be as detailed as possible.
- Graphic Organizers: Using graphic organizers during metacognition is a great way to give students visual reinforcement of the thinking processes you are describing. If grade level appropriate, students can take notes.
- Planning: Metacognition as an instructional strategy takes planning. Teachers should actively plan and script out the behaviors they are trying to model. Think through all of the possible misconceptions and plan to address them before they come up.
Tools & Templates
- ASCD Webpost on Habits of Mind
- Developing Metacognition Webpost
- Mr. Kilmer’s SmartSlides from SmartExchange