We have discussed previously the usefulness of metacognition in graduate-level teaching and learning. By practicing metacognition, we become aware of the amazing amount of work our minds do. We then use our particular skills to successfully employ high-level learning when we can and seek assistance or innovation when we cannot.
To introduce metacognition to students we employ three critical steps:
We introduce these three steps, then reinforce them to students repeatedly over the course of their PA education through the Student Success Coaching Model through:
The Student Success Model incorporates three basic methods of facilitating metacognition:
When introducing metacognition, we present it as a two-part system.
Knowledge of Cognition. We must become aware of our cognitive processes before we can use them. Therefore, we demonstrate and assist students with these first steps:
Regulation of Cognition. In this phase, we teach students how to take charge of their own cognitive skills, through:
Once we establish the concepts of knowledge and regulation, application is the next important phase. Here are two sample methods of approaching the metacognitive process, both of which require us to ask ourselves questions about our learning.
Monitor-and-Adjust: use while learning is happening
…making progress on this task?
…thinking about the learning to identify the problem?
…comprehending what I read, or what is said, and identifying the problem?
…making adjustments to help myself?
Self-Reflect and Evaluate: use following a test of our learning
How well did I…
…accomplish my task?
…manage my time?
…stay on task?
…use strategies to help me?
We encourage students to practice the skills of metacognition until doing so occurs as naturally as thinking itself, and without reminders from an instructor or coach. Our goal is that students need no guidance from us to successfully regulate their own learning.
Teaching our students metacognition affords them more than just a chance to succeed at the graduate level. By doing so, we hand them the keys to a vehicle that will serve them for their educational careers and beyond. No health care career (and few other careers) is without a need for constant learning, processing, and adaptability. The better we know our own minds, the better equipped we are for every opportunity that comes our way.