Developing Metacognition (page 2)

By — Educational Resource Information Center (U.S. Department of Education)
Updated on Dec 16, 2008

Establishing the Metacognitive Environment

A metacognitive environment encourages awareness of thinking. Planning is shared between teachers, school library media specialists, and students. Thinking strategies are discussed. Evaluation is ongoing.

In the creation of a metacognitive environment, teachers monitor and apply their knowledge, deliberately modeling metacognitive behavior to assist students in becoming aware of their own thinking.

Metacognitive strategies are already in teachers' repertoires. We must become alert to these strategies, and consciously model them for students.

Problem-solving and research activities in all subjects provide opportunities for developing metacognitive strategies. Teachers need to focus student attention on how tasks are accomplished. Process goals, in addition to content goals, must be established and evaluated with students so they discover that understanding and transferring thinking processes improves learning.

In this rapidly changing world, the challenge of teaching is to help students develop skills which will not become obsolete. Metacognitive strategies are essential for the twenty-first century. They will enable students to successfully cope with new situations. Teachers and school library media specialists capitalize on their talents as well as access a wealth of resources that will create a metacognitive environment which fosters the development of good thinkers who are successful problem-solvers and lifelong learners.


Dirkes, M. Ann. (1985, November). "Metacognition: Students in charge of their thinking." Roeper Review, 8(2), 96-100. EJ 329 760.

Heller, Mary F. (1986, February). "How do you know what you know? Metacognitive modeling in the content areas." Journal of Reading, 29, 415-421. EJ 329 408.

Palinscar, A. S.; Ogle, D. S.; Jones, B. F.; Carr, E. G.; & Ransom, K. (1986). Teaching reading as thinking. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Scruggs, Thomas E.; Mastropieri, M. A.; Monson, J.; & Jorgenson, C. (1985, Fall). "Maximizing what gifted students can learn: Recent findings of learning strategy research." Gifted Child Quarterly, 29(4), 181-185. EJ 333 116.

Additional Readings

Biggs, John B. (1987). Student approaches to learning and studying. Hawthorne, Victoria, Australia: Australian Council for Educational Research. ED 308 201.

Dirkes, M. Ann. (1988, December). Self-directed thinking in the curriculum. Roeper Review, 11(2), 92-94. EJ 387 276.

Marzano, Robert J.; Brandt, Ronald S.; Hughes, Carolyn Sue; Jones, Beau Fly; Presseisen, Barbara Z.; Rankin, Stuart C.; & Suhor, Charles. (1988). Dimensions of thinking: A framework for curriculum and instruction. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. ED 294 222.

"Thinkers and readers (Secondary perspectives). (1990, March). Journal of Reading, 33(6)," 460-62. EJ 405 093.

This digest originally appeared as "Thinking for the Future," by Elaine Blakey and Sheila Spence, in Emergency Librarian, 17(5), May-June 1990, 11-14. Reprinted with permission of the publisher.

ERIC Digests are in the public domain and may be freely reproduced and disseminated, but please acknowledge your source. This publication was prepared with funding from the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, under Contract No. RI88062007. The opinions expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of OERI or the Department of Education.

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