Metacognition is important to learning and knowledge transfer and also preparing students to be lifelong learners. The engagement of young students in metacognitive thinking is considered necessary, writes Amita Bhardwaj, Director – Curriculum, Footprints Childcare, for Elets News Network (ENN).
Metacognitive knowledge signifies what each person knows about themselves. This knowledge helps them learn better, solve problems, make decisions and much more.
Metacognitive strategies points to the ways and methods used to aid students understand the way they learn; in other words, it means procedures designed for students to improve their learning processes.
John H Flavell (1979) an American development psychologist further divides metacognitive knowledge into three categories: •
Person variables: What one comprehends about his or her own strengths and weaknesses
Task variables: What one knows or can figure out about the nature of a task and the processes required to complete a task
Strategy variables: The strategies a person has “at the ready” to apply in a flexible way to successfully accomplish a task
Implying this to early childhood education may sound to be a very tactful task but it is indeed very beneficial. Most of us do metacognition everyday but we just don’t coin the term for it. Children not just produce good performance results, but by using these strategies they turn out as satisfied, able and happy human beings. With the use of metacognition in their day to day lives the risks of mental setbacks, depression, anxiety and challenges in decision making are drastically reduced.
“Metacognition ensures a shift in the mind-set of a child starting from their early education years. Children instead of finding excuses or ways to avoid the task which is challenging, engage in the process to resolve it. One of the most powerful by-products of metacognitive thinking is increased self-regulation,” says Marc Gladstone, Former Director-Learning support, Trinity School and Berkeley Carroll School.
A child who is regularly told how talented he/she is and is used to being complimented for his/her performances is likely to get frustrated and overwhelmed at the sheer thought of performing badly or not meeting expectations. But if we talk about a child high on metacognitive skills, who is complimented for his/her ability to work hard and persevere when faced with a challenge, can use the skills to figure out a way of rehearsing that works better for him/her.
In order to help children develop metacognitive skills, it is imperative they are given space to think. Let children reflect on what they think about themselves; reason it with them to understand where the thinking arises from. Ask them when display difficult behaviour, if they can think of an alternate better way of handling the situation. Encourage children to move their thinking in the direction to comprehend how they can use their understanding and interpretation skills to find better solutions to their problems.
‘’When you teach young children to think about their behaviour differently, they begin to behave differently,” says Tamara Rosier, a PhD in Leadership and Learning, and has successfully worked with organisations to develop stronger teams, healthier cultures, and more effective leaders.While a lot of hard-work and perseverance is expected from a child to go through this process to achieve metacognitive skills, the parents here need to display a lot of patience.