Metacognitive monitoring: an obstacle and a key to effective teaching and learning

Oct. 15, 2007

Source: Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, Volume 13, Issue 5 October 2007, pages 499 – 519

Current research evidence suggests that metacognitive monitoring decisively affects learning. More specifically, it appears to affect the learner's tasks and learning strategies. However, the way this skill can be developed in schools has not been thoroughly examined. This article discusses the development and application of an intervention programme that aimed to evaluate and enhance third-grade students' metacognitive monitoring during everyday teaching. Action research was used to monitor the intervention. The development of the programme showed that this flexible research process allowed changes to the intervention that made it more responsive to the idiosyncratic metacognitive behaviour of each child.

The results of this intervention confirmed the relationship between the skill of monitoring knowledge and children's performance. In addition, it was found that children with restricted metacognitive skills are those most served by such intervention programmes. However, we also found that some students' misunderstanding of the purpose of the intervention had negative effects on their performance and on their overall attitude. Hence, we learned about the importance of clearly communicating procedures, goals and expectations. Students' affective state also appeared to relate to their metacognitive behaviour. From a practitioner's perspective, this type of intervention can offer classroom teachers an opportunity for self-managed, professional development. Finally, some methodological issues are raised concerning the evaluation of metacognitive phenomena.

Updated: Mar. 06, 2008