Metacognition is the ability to stand back and see oneself when doing a task. You ask yourself, “How am I doing? How did I do?” A young child can change behavior in response to feedback from an adult. A teenager can monitor and critique her performance and improve it by observing others who are more skilled. Kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) are often so busy with the doing that they don’t have time to register feedback. As a result, they are unaware that they may be failing a course or not studying enough to pass a big exam.
Metacognition In the Classroom
Ask metacognitive questions during the day. Before a test, you might say, “Class, let’s talk about how you’re going to study for your test. What strategies will you use? How will you know when you’ve studied enough?” After the test, you might say, “Did you do as well as you thought you were going to? What study strategies worked best for you? What will you do differently the next time?”
Give kids models to help them evaluate their work. If you’re teaching children to write persuasive essays, give them three examples and point out what works in each. Give an example of a poor essay, too, so they know what that looks like and why it’s unsuccessful.