Increasing Teachers’ Metacognition Develops Students’ Higher Learning during Content Area Literacy Instruction: Findings from the Read-Write Cycle Project

Fall, 2010

Source: Issues in Teacher Education, (Fall, 2010), p. 127-151.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article describes one aspect of the Read-Write Cycle (RWC) Project.
The Read-Write Cycle (RWC) Project was a three year longitudinal research study conducted from 2005-2008 in ten public elementary schools in southern California.
This project explored the effectiveness of curriculum and instructional strategies that integrate literacy with disciplinary knowledge.

This article focuses on the RWC Project’s effect on teachers’ metacognition about their own practice leading to upper elementary grade students’ higher learning by developing students’: (1) metacognition and reflection;
(2) exploration and depth in content domains; and
(3) integration of literacy in content areas.

Research Methodology



This study pointed to three key areas in which teachers’ metacognition about their own practice lead to an increase in higher order thinking in their respective classrooms:
(1) upper elementary grade students’ metacognitive learning,
(2) scaffolded students’ deeper understandings in content domains, and (3) guided students in integrating literacy in content areas.

Implications for Teacher Education

The Read-Write Cycle Project contributed an improved ability of both teachers and students to effectively use metacognitive strategies in their teaching and learning.
The results of this project demonstrate the potential value of these strategies for increasing student reading and writing achievement.

The goals of the project that relate to metacognition and discourse include improved student ability to explain reasoning; increased student ability to interact appropriately with peers in small group settings; teacher acquisition and implementation of instruction and assessment strategies that emphasize metacognition and student discourse; and enhanced teacher ability to communicate effectively with colleagues as a result of project participation.
The experimental design employs qualitative and quantitative measures to answer the research question focused on in this article: How do classroom teachers implement RWC professional development in developing students’ metacognitive learning?

Eighteen teachers from ten of the district’s elementary schools participated in the experimental group in the study.

Qualitative data included audiotaped teacher semi-structured interviews and videotapes of professional development days that provided rich teacher “talk-back” sessions.
Other data sources included classroom observations, videotapes of classroom practice, teacher reflective journals, and document review.

Updated: Oct. 16, 2012