Why Metacognition is Important to Teach to Students

Challenging situations and experiences can be frustrating, causing a student to say the four words that parents, caregivers, and teachers fear the most "I can't do it." Reflecting on these situations can help the student overcome these negative emotions and establish proactive thinking and learning process. The process of thinking about and reflecting on personal thoughts is called metacognition. It can help learners understand their feelings and learn new things, thus transitioning from "I can't do it" to "I can do this."

What is metacognition?

Metacognition is the process of thinking about your thoughts. It helps one to make sense of life experiences and develop awareness. Assisting students to develop metacognitive skills can lead to a deeper understanding of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, thus improving their learning and developing meaningful relationships.

According to A.J. Juliani, teachers' roles have evolved from preparing students for the future to helping them learn how to prepare themselves for anything. Therefore, metacognition can help them manage their learning, navigate complex situations, and anticipate changes.

Why is it essential for students to learn metacognition?

Through reflection, students identify what they know or don't know and how their knowledge, experiences, feelings, and actions relate to the environment around them. Metacognition has multiple benefits for learners, including identifying strengths and weaknesses.
Therefore, students should learn metacognition because:

1. It helps them make greater sense of their life experiences

Metacognitive abilities enable students to focus on how they learn. For instance, they may evaluate how they process information and the best environment for performing specific actions, such as learning. The self-awareness gained through metacognition enables students to ask important questions such as how to live a happy life, become a respectable humans, and feel good about themselves. They begin to reason beyond academics and planning what to do to achieve specific goals.

2. It helps students learn to regulate their behavior

Once the students understand how they acquire knowledge, they can manage and control their behaviors to optimize learning. Metacognitive skills enable students to evaluate, monitor and plan specific aspects of their education. For instance, the learner can identify practices such as taking notes as an effective way of reading. In addition, they understand their weaknesses and strengths and acct accordingly.

3 It helps students understand other people's perspectives

Students who can reflect on their experiences and how they perform can relate to other people's behaviors and viewpoints. Metacognition increases people's understanding of their feelings, behaviors, and thoughts. When evaluating these aspects, the students can identify the difference between their actions and those around them. Scientists believe that the self-awareness developed through metacognition is linked to the paralimbic network of the brain that supports efforts to adjust personal beliefs of the world within ourselves and with others. It helps build positive relationships since the students can control and manage negative emotions such as frustration and anger instead of venting them on others.

4. It helps young people become more self-reliant, flexible, and productive

Metacognitive thinking enables students to become self-directed. The skills allow them to assess a task's demands, evaluate personal knowledge and skills, and create practical approaches to handle the assignment. Besides, they can monitor progress and make changes whenever needed. With strong metacognition skills, students can handle difficult situations and anticipate changes since they have a clear picture of what is happening and better understand potential consequences.

In Conclusion

Metacognition is a critical learning process that enables students to reflect on how they acquire knowledge. It builds self-awareness that supports regulating behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. Thus, the learners are more aware of their environment and how it affects their performance. Thus, metacognition does not only contribute to academic success but also improves students' social skills.

If you're ready to see how All Saints' Episcopal Day School incorporates metacognition into our teaching practices, we invite you to meet our team today!
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