What is Metacognition?

Metacognition can be viewed as a multidimensional phenomenon that can be improved or enhanced through the application of selected metacognitive strategies and improved with the development of expertise as self knowledge within a domain increases (Schraw, 1998). This would suggest that metacognitive strategies are learned and applied in domain specific environments and how the application of metacognitive strategies enhances the learning environment (Cross and Paris, 1998). Sophisticated metacognition involves many strategies including problem analysis and problem solving, solution seeking, goal setting and attainment, and monitoring the effectiveness of personal performance based upon the use of strategies (Flavell, et al., 2002).

Metacognition is not an explicit behavior (Akturk and Sahin, 2001). It is often the result of intra-personal experiences involving multiple simultaneous processes including self reflection, self knowledge, self regulation and self appraisal. In considering a relationship between collaboration and metacognition, the context of how collaboration occurs and how metacognitive experiences develops in teachers must be considered. Previous research on Metacognition identifies three types of self knowledge: declarative, procedural and conditional (Flavell,1976, 1979; Brown, 1987; Jacobs and Paris, 1987; Schraw and Moshman, 1995). There are divergent opinions in the literature when it comes how to measure and define metacognitive knowledge and how it relates to cognitive monitoring and self regulation (Sperling, Howard, Staley & DuBois, 2004).

Keeping in mind that knowledge can be classified by type (declarative, procedural, conditional) what it important to distinguish is that metacognition is not simply knowledge but an awareness of how knowledge can be used or applied when needed and an awareness of one’s own thinking (p. 4). This implies that knowledge can be regulated and that self awareness helps to facilitate the application of metacognitive practices.