2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:20 AM


ORMAND, Carol J.1, MANDUCA, Cathryn1, HUSMAN, Jenefer2, KRAFT, Katrien J.3, MOGK, David W.4 and WIRTH, Karl R.5, (1)Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, 1 North College St, Northfield, MN 55057, (2)Division of Psychology in Education; Mary Lou Fulton Institute and Graduate School of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-0611, (3)Physical Science, Mesa Community College, 1833 W Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85202, (4)Dept. of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717, (5)Geology Department, Macalester College, 1600 Grand Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105, cormand@carleton.edu

Forty-two geoscientists, cognitive scientists, and educators met at Carleton College in November, 2008, to consider the role of metacognition in teaching geoscience. This workshop facilitated a conversation between geoscientists, cognitive scientists, and educators, exploring the benefits of teaching students metacognition. The goals of the workshop were to: a) develop a more sophisticated understanding of the role that metacognition plays in geoscience learning; b) consider ways in which teaching can address the role of metacognition; c) collect examples of activities, assessments and observation protocols that shed light on metacognition; d) create a network of leaders from geoscience education and cognitive science to further explore the role of metacognition in teaching and learning.

Workshop participants shared strategies they have used successfully to teach or assess metacognition. These strategies included revealing expert thought processes; modeling expert behavior and procedures; using technology to capture student thought processes; having students make predictions before they observe data, compare their observations with their predictions, and explain the differences; and helping students to make appropriate attributions regarding their failures and successes to factors that are within their control – what they study, how they study, and in what environment they choose to study.

Students who engage in self-monitoring and self-regulating behaviors are able to learn more efficiently and engage in deeper learning than students who don’t, enabling students to retain more of the course content than they would without those metacognitive skills. Teaching metacognition is one route to teaching critical thinking, as the process of engaging in self-monitoring and self-regulation involves asking questions such as “How?” “Why?” and “What if?” instead of just “What?” Student learning (as measured by classroom assessments) increases dramatically when students learn to monitor and regulate their learning strategies. A full description of the workshop and collections of teaching activities can be found on the workshop website: http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/metacognition/workshop08/index.html.