How is it December already, time has flown by and the year has almost come to an end. Teaching children to think about their thinking, or metacognition, is essential. When children as learners become conscious of their thinking, they can become aware of their strengths and the strategies that are useful to their own learning. Like creativity, metacognition is not an add-on to a learning activity but embedded during the learning experience. If we can help our children think about their strategies, we can help them become more skilled learners. This ideal has been developing in our room over the past week. We have allowed ourselves as educators to be immersed in observing the children at play to learn about the ways in which they strategize and solve dilemmas that may arise. It is great to see their level of understanding in situations where problem solving skills are administered to execute a certain task. This shows us as educators how to extend our provocations to developmentally challenge the children in learning to exercise these strategical thinking skills.
John Flavell, researcher of metacognition, believes kids need awareness in three areas:
1. An awareness of knowledge — understanding what they know
- surveying, questioning, reading, reciting, and reviewing
2. An awareness of thinking — understanding cognitive tasks
- selecting strategies for the task
3. An awareness of thinking strategies — understanding approaches to directing learning such as self-assessing, self-questioning and revising
Based on these principles of metacognition, we are striving to allow the children to progress in their own learning through techniques such as modelling our own thinking out loud which allows them to gain a visual that links between thought processing and application of the strategies used to solve certain obstacles. Scaffolding is also essential in allowing children to progress in their strategical thinking as it allows them to further grow using their previous knowledge. Lastly facilitation and allowing them the opportunities to notice their thinking through conversations and play will allow them to prosper in their metacognition skills.