It Works for Me, Metacognitively
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It Works for Me, Metacognitively

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The Author:


 Hal Blythe, Charlie Sweet, & Russell Carpenter



Metacognition reveals teaching and learning to students with a focus on teaching students how to apply learning strategies. Perhaps most importantly, though, metacognitive approaches offer strategies for encouraging students to reflect not only on what they learned but how they learned it.

  • We hope readers will consider these threads when reviewing the teaching tips in this collection:

  • Teaching metacognition demands intention and modeling of the strategies.

  • Using metacognition in the classroom requires establishing the students as willing and interested learners in the first place.

  • Teaching students how to apply metacognitive strategies also means that we are teaching students to learn about the learning process.

  • Teaching metacognition encourages students to become active, critical, and creative learners.

In short, metacognition offers a way for you to rethink instruction while also, as we’ve learned at our own institution, reconsidering the relationship between teaching and learning. As you read, however, we encourage you to think differently about the ways you apply metacognitive strategies in your teaching and the ways you ask students to incorporate these concepts in your assignment, course, and service or administrative work on campus.






Cognitive Monitoring:  A Learner-Centered Paradigm / 2

Bloom’s Taxonomy:  Creating Meaningful Discussions / 9

A Practical Technique to Improve Students’ Critical Thinking Skills / 12

Promoting Learning through the IER Model of Reflection / 14

Transforming Pedagogical Potential through Metacognition / 18

Transforming the Learning Space to Improve Students’ Metacognitive Skills / 22


Using Metacognition to Manipulate Administrators / 28

Facilitating Professional Development in Metacognition / 30

R.A.T.E.:  A Metacognitive Tool / 32

The EIAG Process, Metacognition and Improving Professional Practice / 33

Tripod of Support for Metacognition:  Lessons from International Refugees Programs / 35

Value of Reflection in Faculty Learning / 38


Part 1. Developing Strategies:  An Overview / 44

Using Metacognitive Processes to Better Understand Teaching and Learning / 45

Metacognition:  Students Need It and You Can Teach It!  The Feedback
Approach / 46

Helping Students Understand What They Are Learning by Addressing
Their Hindsight Bias / 50

Better Late Than Never / 52

Time for an RLM (Reflective Learning Moment) / 53

Self-Reflective Design Thinking / 55

Concept Maps:  A Tool to Promote Philosophical Development and Career Identity / 57

Reading Summary Templates / 62

Student-Selected Homework and Homework Wrappers / 64

Using Questions to Frame a Metacognitive Classroom / 66

The Power of Stories / 68

Metacognitive Approaches in Undergraduate Psychology Courses / 71

Facilitating Self-Reflection as a Metacognitive Tool / 74

Test Wrappers / 77

Placing Students’ Attitudes and Behaviors in Context to Counter the False Consensus Effect / 79

Problem-Based Learning to Strengthen Students’ Metacognitive Skills / 81

Implementing Think-Aloud Protocols Provides Insight to Students’ Internal Metacognitive Processes / 83

Model Construction as a Framework for Metacognition in STEM Education / 86

Making Online Discussion Boards Work / 90

The Group Exam:  Studying to Teach / 92

Part 2. Creating Classroom Activities:  An Overview / 94

Active Learning Strategy to Encourage Student Reading and Metacognition / 95

Helping Students Identify a Healthy Learning Environment / 97

Using Structured Debates to Promote Metacognition / 99

The Exam Writing Exercise / 101

Using Film to Make Metacognitive Connections / 103

A Jigsaw-like Group Activity / 105

Incorporating Elements of Self-Reflection throughout Collaborative and Team-Based Projects / 106

Sharing the Responsibility of Assessment with Online Learners / 111

Using Think-Alouds as a Class Activity / 113

The Question Walk:  A Tool for Developing Metacognition / 115

A Metacognitive Tip:  Students Summaries after Every Class / 118

The Fairy Tale Exercise, or, What Is the Difference between Description and Analysis? / 121

Part 3. Using Writing Assignments:  An Overview / 123

Inviting Students into a Metacognitive Space / 124

Using Graphic Organizers to Conquer On-Demand Writing / 127

Writing to Learn to Promote Metacognition / 129

Asking Novice Computer Programmers to Reflect on Their Experience Writing Code / 131

Writing in Mathematics: It Works Metacognitively / 133

Part 4. Employing Effective Assessment:  An Overview / 138

Promoting Metacognition through CATs to Uncover Prior Knowledge / 139

A Further Exploration Using CATs to Foster Metacognition / 141

Creative and Critical Thinking Assessment Forms for Metacognition / 145

Reflection as Part of the Income Tax Service-Learning Project / 152

Metacognitive “Wish List” as a Strategy for Student Success / 154

Using Self-Reflection to Promote Metacognitive Monitoring and Control / 157

Rewarding Metacognition on Tests / 159

Using Periodic Retrospective Assessment in Multidisciplinary Project Teams / 160


V. APPENDIX A:  A Metacognitive Survey and an Annotated Bibliography for Further Reading / 165

About the Authors / 170

About the

Hal Blythe, Ph.D. (University of Louisville, 1972), is the Co-Director of the Teaching & Learning Center at Eastern Kentucky University.  With Charlie, he has collaborated on over 1200 published works, including 17 books (eight in New Forums’ popular It Works For Me Series), literary criticism, and educational research.

Charlie Sweet, Ph.D. (Florida State University, 1970), is the Co-Director of the Teaching & Learning Center at Eastern Kentucky University.  With Hal, he has collaborated on over 1200 published works, including 17 books, literary criticism, educational research, and ghostwriter of the lead novella for the Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

Russell Carpenter, Ph.D. (University of Central Florida, 2009), directs the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity and Minor in Applied Creative Thinking at Eastern Kentucky University where he is also Assistant Professor of English. He is the author or editor of several recent books including The Routledge Reader on Writing Centers and New Media (with Sohui Lee), Cases on Higher Education Spaces, Teaching Applied Creative Thinking (with Charlie Sweet, Hal Blythe, and Shawn Apostel), and the Introduction to Applied Creative Thinking (with Charlie Sweet and Hal Blythe). He serves as President of the Southeastern Writing Center Association and Past Chair of the National Association of Communication Centers.


 2016 [ISBN: 1-58107-293-7; 118 pages; 7 ½ x 9 ¾ inch; soft cover] $17.95