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Math 7-9 > Factors > Metacognition

Metacognition

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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.

Main Ideas:

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.

  • Metacognitive knowledge is the knowledge we have about our own cognitive processes, including:
    • Knowledge about the strengths and weaknesses of our own cognitive abilities. When students become better judges of their own ability on a math task, their performance is shown to improve.
    • Knowledge about the task at hand (e.g., "This assignment will only take me about one hour to complete because I have a strong understanding of how to solve these types of problems.")
    • Knowledge about learning strategies and when each strategy will be useful (e.g., "I should probably use diagrams to help me think through this problem.")
  • Metacognitive regulation allows us to track our progress and efficiently solve problems, including:
    • Prediction and planning allow us to plan ahead, set goals, and select appropriate strategies to best solve math problems.
    • Monitoring and evaluation refers to tracking your own thoughts and cognitive processes. In math, monitoring and evaluation allow real time evaluation of the reasoning and problem solving process.
    • Control processes allow us to avoid or repair errors, compare solutions, and shift to new strategies.

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