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Metacognition: just another buzzword?

Metacognition: Just Another Buzzword?

In education, just like any other professional sector, one often comes across buzzwords: words or phrases that become fashionable in a particular context. For example, how often have you heard people talk about remote learning, blended learning, well-being, synchronous or asynchronous learning recently? Let’s go back in time, before the pandemic. You might remember some other buzzwords in education, like critical thinking, multiple intelligences, inquiry-based learning, project-based learning, or personalized learning. All these words and phrases represent important worldwide educational trends in the rapidly changing world of education.

What is metacognition?
Have you come across this word yet? If you are a linguistic nerd, you will break metacognition into its Greek part ‘meta’ (beyond) and the Latin verb ‘cognoscere’ (getting to know; understanding) and realise that metacognition means ‘thinking about thinking‘, that is, ‘understanding how one learns‘.

At first, it might sound a bit confusing. But, in a nutshell, it refers to the intentional process of thinking about one’s learning process. So now you might be thinking, “Here we go again, another trend in education!” That might be the case; the only way to find out is to understand the relevance of metacognition to student learning. 

How does metacognition help my child? 
I often use proverbs when explaining concepts to students. I understand some proverbs are culturally bound, so I hope you are familiar with this one: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

At CIS, we have a more holistic approach to teaching and learning: we go beyond academics; we prepare students for life. In other words, we aim to ensure conceptual understanding, competency, and character development. In doing so, we support our students to become critical thinkers, great communicators, and independent learners. 

By focusing on metacognitive skills, we empower our students to find strategies that will enable them to learn more effectively. These skills include:

  • task orientation
  • goal setting
  • planning
  • organisation
  • problem-solving,
  • self-correction
  • self-evaluation
  • concentration

Therefore, strong metacognitive skills allow students to take the driver’s seat in their learning process. In short, we ensure that students learn how to fish!