Meta Cognition the Approach to the Concept Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Meta Cognition

The approach to the concept is varied, for the reason that there are no strict rules for the definition of the term metacognition, although it can be seen as the approach to learning, or concepts and methods that are used by the learner to learn speedily, efficiently and inn a consistent manner. However metacognition is a concept of how to achieve the end -- namely mastering something. Human beings are not good learners, and for that matter learning is itself a subjective concept that involves many metrics like time, perception, language, system in which the education is imparted and so on. One set of strategy that is termed metacognition- for example an approach to study math by the use of pictorial or video representations may suit one set of learners who are psychologically persons gifted with learning by visualisation. It may not work with others who are more of symbolic learners. Then the study of this aspect need be attempted with due care.

Metacognition Defined

Metacognition deals with the study of the nature of knowledge, its efficient acquisition and the model behavior and the agency through which the knowledge is acquired. (Hacker; Dunlosky; Graesser, 2009) Metacognitive knowledge refers to acquired knowledge about cognitive processes, knowledge that can be used to control cognitive processes. Metacognitive strategies are sequential processes used to control cognitive activities, and to ensure that a cognitive goal has been met. Because metacognition plays a critical role in successful learning, it is important to study metacognitive activity and development to determine how students can be taught to better apply their cognitive resources through metacognitive control. (Hacker; Dunlosky; Graesser, 2009)

The basic learning method and the strategy around which the concepts function are the methods of questions that were in vogue with mankind from the time of Plato. However the question of approaching the gaining of knowledge itself, and the process called metacognition then deals with the questions of how the learner creates a set of questions and subsequent paradigms in the learning process. (Hacker; Dunlosky; Graesser, 2009) Questioning was a method even prior to the introduction of the concept. Thus: "The first principles of knowledge are well fitted for the first efforts of thought and reasoning; the progression of truths supplies the subjects and occasions on which the mind can gradually form its general ideas; and leads it on by easy gradations to the more comprehensive principles of general science." (Butler, 1828) It must be based on the individual pupil's ability to grasp and understand the lesson, and most do so with a view of future use. One set of learning will lead to another and will also create the curiosity and generate interest.

General Methods of Study

The concept of teaching as not only a method of classroom instruction but applying the knowledge in a practical area is not a very new concept. In the 1820s Maria Edgeworth brought out the importance of hands on experience in education. She claimed that children must be allowed to make choices: That is learned choices coming out of reflection and also training. To that end she suggested that for every class there be a practical course on the subject thought. (Edgeworth; Edgeworth, 1825) Thus the concept was buried with the consideration of cost and other implementation features by the system so far. This is the skeleton of what was later transformed to other cognitive learning methods. The emphasis thus is the choice of learning methods.


There are many differences between the theory and practice of the concepts of metacognition because of the human factors involved. The major obstacle will be analyzing and finding the needs and methods of teaching individuals with varying degree of compatibility. The student may have different mind sets; they may be visual learners and/or normal audio learners. The programs run in the class room must cater simultaneously to these two types of learners and also it has been found that thinking occurs at different levels and there are many types of thinkers - analytic thinkers, global thinkers and others. There are also learners with disabilities. (Whitten; Esteves; Woodrow, 2009)

The challenge will be to create programs that can be perfect to all these segments, and the bigger challenge will be identifying the type of the student and creating their individual environment in the class room. This will be the biggest daunting task. But the students who can adapt to thinking about the way they must approach their studies and come to terms with their needs would benefit by a metacognitive approach. Metacognitive experiences involve the use of metacognitive strategies or metacognitive regulation. knowledge about strategy variables include knowledge about both cognitive and metacognitive strategies, as well as conditional knowledge about when and where it is appropriate to use such strategies. (Livingston, 1997)

The metacognition approach is a theoretical framework used in this study, the constructs of approach to learning and the study of metacognitive development of learning is a new approach to learning that beside exploring the way the teaching is to be also suggests what the students do to learn, why they learn in a particular pattern, and what are the motives for selecting the particular methods of learning. It is thus described as the 'congruent motive-strategy packages'1 there are two modes in approaching student behavior in learning. One is the surface approach and the second the deep approach. The surface approach shows the student merely indulging in a pattern of study where the student is not motivated.

In the deep approach the student is motivated to study which then takes the student to explore the subject deeper by being motivated to do so. On the other hand the academic requirements of today make the marks criteria. Hence there is a strategic approach, in the strategic approach the aim is to maximize marks for which the students work out a strategy that can gain marks rather than deep study. Thus when the students aim to understand what they are learning, a conceptual approach, can be seen. On the other hand the surface learners exhibit an algorithmic approach, in "which students focus on remembering solution methods, and an information-based approach, in which students focus on remembering specific pieces of information." (Case; Gunstone, 2000)

Reasons why strategies are not used poor cognitive monitoring is that if children and adults do not notice that they are not learning, they are unlikely to seek a strategic remedy. Thus it is argued that "strategies need to be applied conditionally by learner knowledge base and by domain appropriateness, certain situations are more likely to elicit cognitive monitoring." (Garner, 1990)

Things not yet considered

In approaching the Meta learning process, the modern day environment and the way distractions affect the student is not studied. Metacognitive theories have for example left out the modern day intrusions into the student's inclination to learn. Today the habits have changed and the internet has taken the place of the library and the football ground. In the case of male students it is reported that the TV and game consoles, internet and there is interaction only on the media and as a result the internet and addiction to internet and games and therefore less social awareness is seen. This further escalates into disinterest in academics and achievement. The boy students spend 10 thousand hours of video games which has replaced physical interaction and conventional methods of learning. (Blau, 2006) Still as a strategy the system has shown remarkable success among the students who use it and therefore there are advantages.

Advantages of using the metacognitive methods

Taking the argument that the basic cognitive strategies are-rereading and creating an external record of information, a record might be used for subsequent study. This can be taking separate notes, highlighting and bulleting text, margin notes and so on. The difference between learners and those who are using metacognitive methods is that these 'Adept learners invoke cognitive strategies to make cognitive progress, and they invoke metacognitive strategies to monitor that progress.' (Garner, 1990)

Thus metacognition can be effective and a useful function combined with other strategies because what is a bad strategy for a learning system may be suited to another. For example learning by rote of a scientific principle without finding its applications inn universal contexts may be a weak strategy, but studying a poem is not. Thus weak strategies in one domain may be powerful strategies in another. Though research literature are always supportive of the use of strategies enhances learning, sometimes strategies are not needed. The simple learning systems are adequate for general learning and the strategies are required in domains where background knowledge is low and can be compensated. The types of strategies in learning are cognitive, and metacognitive. In the metacognitive approach there are two elements - knowledge and strategy. Still classifying them is not easy and one example given is if 'understanding principles from bio-chemistry cognitive or metacognitive knowledge?'. (Livingston, 1997)

The most effective metacognition learning is to provide the learner both…

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