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Metacognition refers to the ability to think about our own thinking and to pay attention to and control our cognitive processes. Metacognition allows students to activate and use prior knowledge and experience to make predictions, to plan, and then to monitor and adjust strategies to solve problems. Metacognition improves throughout childhood and peaks by the end of adolescence.
There are several important components of Metacognition that allow students to predict, plan, monitor, and evaluate in the process of learning, and each plays an important role in the development of math skills.
Providing math tasks with high cognitive demand conveys high expectations for all students by challenging them to engage in higher-order thinking.
As students solve problems in a group, they learn new strategies and practice communicating their mathematical thinking.
Teaching students to recognize common problem structures helps them transfer solution methods from familiar to unfamiliar problems.
Discussing strategies for solving mathematics problems after initially letting students attempt to problem solve on their own helps them understand how to organize their mathematical thinking and intentionally tackle problems.
Teaching students how to label, identify, and manage Emotion helps them learn Self-regulation skills.
Overtly encouraging all students to seek support and ask questions creates a safe space for risk-taking and skill development.
Analyzing incorrect worked examples is especially beneficial for helping students develop a conceptual understanding of mathematical processes.
Writing freely about one's emotions about a specific activity, such as taking a test, can help students cope with negative Emotion, such as math anxiety.
Teachers can help students understand that learning involves effort, mistakes, and reflection by teaching them about their malleable brain and modeling their own learning process.
Setting overall goals, as well as smaller goals as steps to reaching them, encourages consistent, achievable progress and helps students feel confident in their skills and abilities.
Attributing results to controllable aspects (strategy and effort) fosters students' beliefs in self.
In guided inquiry, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by active listening and questioning.
Spending time with new content helps move concepts and ideas into Long-term Memory.
As students work with and process information by discussing, organizing, and sharing it together, they deepen their understanding.
Math centers support learner interests and promote the development of more complex math skills and social interactions.
When students have meaningful conversations about math and use math vocabulary, they develop the thinking, questioning, and explanation skills needed to master mathematical concepts.
Through short but regular mindfulness activities, students develop their awareness and ability to focus.
Short breaks that include mindfulness quiet the brain to allow for improved thinking and emotional regulation.
By talking through their thinking at each step of a process, teachers can model what learning looks like.
Students deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning when they explain to and receive feedback from others.
Providing space and time for students to reflect is critical for moving what they have learned into Long-term Memory.
When students engage in a dialogue with themselves, they are able to orient, organize, and focus their thinking.
When students monitor their comprehension, behavior, or use of strategies, they build their Metacognition.
When students give themselves positive self-statements after reaching a goal, they acknowledge their progress and reward their small successes.
When students create their own number and word problems, they connect math concepts to their background knowledge and lived experiences.
When students explain their thinking process aloud, they recognize the strategies they use and solidify their understanding.
Students deepen their math understanding as they use and hear others use specific math language in informal ways.
Analyzing and discussing solved problems helps students develop a deeper understanding of abstract mathematical processes.
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