Fostering metacognition in Higher Education. How do we do it well?
Wei Lin Poh, Heriot Watt University Malaysia
“Am I on doing this correctly?” is a common question among university students, indicating a lack of critical self-awareness or self-reflection in navigating own learning progress through a course. Metacognition is awareness of one’s thoughts or thinking about thinking (Flavell, 1976). Applying this in higher education context, metacognitive ability helps students to be aware of their strength, weakness, limitation of knowledge and think of a set of actions to develop skills to develop knowledge. Engaging with self-reflective questions for example is a simple exercise to support students to achieve this. Additionally, creating a structure within a course (i.e., answering a set of question aims to support planning, monitoring and evaluating of the course) and building a class culture (i.e., instructors working with students to reflect questions with students) to support students developing metacognition abilities. As instructors, we should also continuously reflect on the type of questions, quality of engagement so we can develop meaningful teaching activities for students to build metacognitive abilities. The current project focuses on students undertaking the psychology programme at Heriot Watt University. The design of the programme is based on the programme standards outlined by the British Psychological Society (BPS) in which taking responsibility for learning and developing effective self-reflection are key transferrable skills students need to develop. This is also the motivation for current project to explore ways to foster metacognitive skills in students learning to achieve this requirement.
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