In working on my project ideas and study for my critical reflection subject, I have been exploring the idea of how to facilitate greater depths of critical reflection in my own students and I have been questioning what it takes to facilitate the development of this. What scaffolds and curriculum structures are required to increase metacognition and self-regulated cognition?
Metacognition is one of those terms that has had one theorist after another proceed to try and provide a succinct definition for it without success when it comes to the succinctness of such as definition. Kitchener (1983) points out in her article ‘Cognition, Metacognition, and Epistemic Cognition: A Three-Level Model of Cognitive Processing’ that metacognition definitions can include any combination of and inclusion of such words as: “‘cognitive monitoring’, ‘executive processes’, ‘self-communication’, and ‘knowledge about knowledge’” (p. 222). Kitchener (1983) included the word ‘monitoring’ in much of her article, which guides my direction somewhat in considering the kinds of prompts I might need to think about in terms of facilitating metacognition in my own students.
On the Tools of the Mind website, they define self-regulation like this:
“Self-regulation is a critical competency that underlies the mindful, intentional, and thoughtful behaviors of younger and older children alike. The term self-regulation (sometimes also called executive function) refers to the capacity to control one’s impulses, both to stop doing something, if needed (even if one wants to continue doing it) and to start doing something, if needed (even if one doesn’t want to do it).” (Tools of the Mind, 2014)
So more than being able to monitor one’s own cognitive processes, it is essential that students learn the skills to make adjustments when they are needed as well. Just like in the book I recently finished, including a experience-based account of The Choice Map, I want students to be able to recognise when their learning processes and thoughts are not on track to goal and outcome success and be able to adjust it accordingly. The question on how to do this is what I am pondering and reflecting on as I read further into metacognitive prompts and critical reflection.
Metacognitive knowledge is defined as:
“[...]one’s stored knowledge or beliefs about oneself and others as cognitive agents, about tasks, about actions or strategies, and about how all these interact to affect the outcomes of any sort of intellectual enterprise.” (Flavell, 1979, p. 906)
I’ll also consider what part metacognitive knowledge will play in the overall facilitation of critical reflection and metacognition.
Flavell, J. H. (1979). Metacognition and cognitive monitoring: A new area of cognitive–developmental inquiry. American psychologist, 34(10), 906.
Kitchner, K. S. (1983). Cognition, metacognition, and epistemic cognition. Human development, 26(4), 222-232.
Tools of the Mind. (2014, ). Self-Regulation. Retrieved April 16, 2014, from Tools of the Mind: http://www.toolsofthemind.org/philosophy/self-regulation/