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Metacognition
Applications and Importance in Study Skills


Getting Kids to Think About How They Learn

Especially from ages 7-11, a child will begin the process of organizing thoughts and processes into classes and systems that will be used in problem solving strategies and study skills. Enhancing a child's study skills is enhancing his acquisition of metacognition.

What is metacognition?

Metacognition is "knowledge of one's knowledge, processes, and cognitive and affective states; and the ability to consciously and deliberatley monitor and regulate one's knowledge, processes, and cognitive and affective states." In more general terms, metacognition is the awareness of the acquisition of mental organization skills, and the ability to apply these organization and recognition skills.

The notion of self-efficacy is intrinsic in the acquisition of metacognitive skills. A child who believes he is "bad at math problems" will be singificantly slower in acquiring the ability to apply new formulae and organize problems in order to solve math problems. A student with little motivation to attempt to solve the problems will be even less motivated to monitor, realize, and properly apply techniques to solve problems.

Metacognition is essential in teaching study skills

"Theoreticians seem unanimous -- the most effective learners are self- regulating." Students must be able to accurately reflect on what they do and don't know, and how they would approach solving new organization problems. Studies have shown that once a child is able to come up with his own way of organizing items for study, he will achieve far greater results on tests (in reading, writing, math, science, bilingual education, test prediction, etc.). It is therefore imperative that effective study skills, with metacognition as the goal, be taught and monitored to children so that they may become more facile with finding unique problem-solving strategies in the future.

Click on the bibliography link below to find more resources on metacognition and problem solving, to answer more specific questions on metacognition, and/or to get general background on the concept of metacognition.

Bibliography of metacognition
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