Metacognition: Learning to Learn and Learning to Think
Recent articles on cognitive development, memory, reading and mathematics indicate that much attention is given to metacognition. This paper is intended as an introduction to the operationalisation of metacognition and as an exploration of the relation between metacognition and learning to learn and learning to think skills.
The study assessed the effects of metacognitive skills on students representing different populations. 189 six to twelve year-old students from several schools (elementary schools, schools with students from ethnic minority groups and special schools for slowly learning students) were tested to assess the developmental level of metacognitive skill A quantitative analysis of the results of this study shows that there are differences in metacognitive functioning between the two groups of students. The differences must be interpreted primarily as a difference in planning behaviour. A three-stage process in the development of planning behaviour is observed: Stage 1 — haphazard non planning behaviour. The student is unaware of the end result until after it has been accomplished Stage 2 — inductive stepwise planning behaviour. The student’s approach is a step by step changing of the situation. Stage 3 — deductive planning behaviour. The student does all the planning prior to the execution.
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