Metacognition: Thinking About Thinking

Metacognition: Thinking About Thinking

Tia M. Neal
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-6677-3.ch006
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Simply put, metacognition is thinking about thinking; however, the concept of metacognition is so much more complex and multifaceted. The objective of this chapter is to provide an overview of metacognition and strategies that can be used in the classroom to support the education of gifted leaners. The chapter seeks to explore the following questions: (a) How has the educational history of the United States of America impacted gifted students and their learning experiences? (b) What is metacognition and how does it relate to the learning environments of gifted students? (c) What are metacognitive teaching strategies? (d) How can metacognitive teaching strategies be utilized to encourage autonomy within classrooms of gifted learners?
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With respect to educating the gifted and talented, metacognitive approaches to instruction are critical to raising their learning ceilings and helping them develop the skills needed to progress into autonomous learners. Gifted learners are often self-reflective, spend time generating solutions to problems, testing those solutions, and monitoring their progress (Barfurth et al., 2009). However, public education in the USA has not historically offered gifted students the opportunities to maximize their potential through the employment of metacognitive strategies within the classrooms (Rimm et al., 2018). To better understand how education has shifted over the years in ways that have not typically lent itself to the exploration of thoughts and metacognitive processes with gifted learners, one must take a brief glimpse into the past educational history in the USA.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Zone of Proximal Development: The space between the tasks that learners can do individually without assistance and the tasks that learners cannot do, even when they have been given assistance.

Formative Assessments: Low-stakes assessments frequently given during a lesson to check for student understanding of content. These assessments allow teachers to address any preconceptions or misconceptions both prior to and during a lesson.

Self-Reflecting: The ability to evaluate one’s cognitive and behavioral process in a learning environment, giving serious thought to products created as a result of the knowledge gained.

Self-Monitoring: The ability to monitor one’s behavior and the impact that it has on an academic or social environment.

Scaffolding: Breaking learning into small, manageable pieces and assisting students when they experience struggles. This enables students to learn new concepts and skills through structured support.

Autonomous Learner: One who is responsible for the construction of his or her own learning.

Self-Instructing: Talking through a problem or task in order to reach a solution.

Metacognition: The process of thinking about thinking, self-reflection, and self-regulation of learning processes.

General Education Teacher: Teachers of students who make up the general population of students in a school or school system.

Summative Assessments: High-stakes assessments given at the end of a chapter, unit, or scholastic year. These assessments are a measure of what students have learned when compared to a standard or benchmark.

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