How Metacognition Can Promote Academic Learning

Paris & Winograd (1990) present an interesting outlook on applying metacognitive strategies to promote academic learning.  Insightful among this research is the role metacognition can have on motivation and student self-efficacy.  Paris and Winograd (1990) argue that metacognition not only empowers students with strategies to take control over their learning, they learn to apply strategies that are meaningful and teach them to appraise and acknowledge their learning.
The research is structured in three parts: 1. Fuzziness of Metacognition; 2. Retooling Metacognition for Student Empowerment and Motivation; 3. Application for Educators.  First, the article begins with a synthesis of literature and the difficulties researchers and practitioners have when conceptualizing metacognition.  Metacognitive strategies typically involve strategies to empower students to plan, monitor, and revise their own thinking.  Paris and Winograd (1990) redefine metacognition to include self-efficacy, self-appraisal, and motivation.  Third, Paris and Winograd (1990) offer strategies for classroom teachers to teach metacognition first through direct instruction, followed by a gradual release of ownership on metacognition.
The motivational aspect of metacognition was most revealing.  This is a component that is lacking in much literature on applying metacognitive strategies to classroom teaching.  When students are able to understand their strengths and weaknesses they can apply strategies to off-set their shortcomings.  One strategy for students to gain ownership over their learning is through the use of journal entries that students use to self-assess their own understandings and misconceptions (Brimijoin, Marquissee, & Tomlinson, 2003).

Brimijoin, K., Marquissee, E., & Tomlinson, C. A. (2003). Using data to differentiate instruction. Educational Leadership,
        60(5), 70-73.

Paris, S. G., & Winograd, P. (1990). How metacognition can promote academic learning and instruction. (B.F. Jones & L.
         Idol Eds.), Dimensions of thinking and cognitive instruction. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.