How can we empower learners? We need to help them become self-regulated!

Simply put, metacognition is “thinking about thinking” and involves a person’s ability to self-regulate his or her own learning. Well, what does self-regulation mean? It’s the deliberate and mindful effort humans undertake to learn new things. Self-regulated learners use planning and goal setting, monitoring one’s progress, and adapting as needed throughout the learning process. We need to use metacognitive skills to think, plan, assess, perceive, evaluate, and reach goals in a learning experience.

What’s interesting is every learner has their own unique repertoire of metacognitive strategies that they draw upon to acquire new information. Students who deliberately think about and reflect on their own learning processes are better learners than those who do not. Since we all construct new information based on prior learning, it makes sense that students who perform less favourable may have poorly organized and limited prior knowledge available. I found it interesting to read that students who believe (incorrectly) that intelligence is “fixed” versus “incremental” in nature perform much less favourably in the learning environment.

There are many factors that can impact a student negatively and hinder their learning such as procrastination, over learning, choking, multi-tasking, intimidation, vulnerability-confidence issues, stress, competing priorities, illusions of learning, or a lack of sleep. Some of these factors we can assist them with, others not as easily. However, since we know that teaching metacognition improves learning, we need to incorporate and “wrap” learning activities with metacognitive skills that help our students become self-regulated. What metacognitive strategies do you use to empower our students to become self-regulated?

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