Time and time again, metacognition is highlighted as a low-cost, hyper effective learning strategy for students. Metacognitive strategies specific to planning, monitoring and reviewing learning are particularly helpful for supporting students in the classroom.
Part one of this three-part blog series covered four metacognitive strategies that students could use in the planning stage of a task. Part two looked at five metacognitive strategies that could be used while doing a task.
In this third and last part, we’re looking at four metacognitive strategies that teachers can encourage students to use during the “reviewing” stage of a task…
After successfully completing a task, students may not remember what they struggled with, and may not realise how much they learned. It is important that students engage in self-evaluation so that the next time they complete a task, they can apply what they have learned and avoid making the same mistakes.
Teachers can encourage self-evaluation by asking students to review their corrected homework, coursework and exams, paying special attention to recurring mistakes and teacher remarks.
Self-evaluation can also be done through self-correcting, where students become independent learners and develop a growth mindset. Research suggests that students who correct their own exams and explain why they made the mistakes they did have a better understanding of the learning material. This activity allows them to acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses, and to see where and why they went wrong on a task. However it should be noted that if students are novices this will need to be heavily guided, as they may not yet have the schema in place to spot misconceptions. As they move towards being experts, we can look to reduce this support.
Teachers can also encourage self-evaluation by asking students to self-question. This involves students privately answering a set of questions to review what they have learned. These could include:
- What did I learn about this topic that I didn’t know before?
- What content was challenging to learn? Do I understand it now?
- Why did I make the mistakes that I did? Where did I go wrong?
Before an exam, students can use many techniques to help them remember information. Self-testing is one of the most effective of these strategies, allowing students to make sure that they really did retain the information necessary for an exam. Self-testing allows students to review what content they know well, what content they need to study more, and what content they need to re-learn altogether.
Teachers may also encourage students to teach their peers. Once the information has been learned, a powerful way to review how much you have learned is trying to teach others. Research has shown that students who taught other students about a scientific theory without using notes learned more than students who used a script or students who used retrieval practice. Teaching as learning allows students to review what they know well enough to teach someone else.
Figure out what learning strategies work best
Many learning strategies exist when it comes to studying, especially in relation to maximising memory. Here at InnerDrive, we recognise that not all studying strategies are equal. Figuring out which strategies worked best for them will allow students to make the most out of their learning in the classroom. Teachers can encourage students to do this in many ways, by asking students to:
- Reflect on the pros and cons of the learning strategies they used;
- Identify the most and least effective learning strategies;
- Recognise what mistakes they made when trying new learning techniques and what could have gone better.
Recognise good and bad habits
Forming good habits and changing bad ones is a vital key to good performance. With research suggesting that 40% of behaviour can be accounted for by habits, it is clear that they play a big role in our everyday life and, for students, in their academic careers.
Bad study habits may prevent students from performing their best on exams or learning effectively in the classroom. Students should review whether habits such as eating breakfast, listening to music or sleeping sufficiently affect their ability to learn and their memory retention. Teachers can prompt students to do this by suggesting that students keep a diary where they can keep track of habits that may affect revision. Identifying and maintaining good ones and avoiding bad ones may play a role in optimising student learning.
Learn more about using metacognition before, during and after a task:
- Read part 1 of this series, all about the Planning part of the metacognitive process
- Read part 2 of this series, all about the Doing part of the metacognitive process