01 SES 10 A, Professional development issues - metacognition and technology
In 1987, Wittrock suggested that teachers could influence their students thinking and that this in turn could impact attainment outcomes, yet there is limited research on the impact teachers’ metacognitive awareness might have on their students’ thinking and learning development (Zohar 1999). In this paper we will argue that teachers who want to encourage the metacognitive awareness of their students (and therefore raise attainment) need to be metacognitive role models for their students. By being more explicit about their own learning experiences they will not only model the ups and downs of lifelong learning, but also in openly recognizing the learning process that is in inherent in teaching will facilitate the dispositions that should be the bedrock of professional practice (Groundwater-Smith and Mockler 2007). This will extend Wilson and Bai’s (2010) argument that teachers should have a pedagogical understanding of metacognition, model thinking approaches and ensure problem solving is transparent and explicit by providing an account of how metacognitive pedagogical knowledge is reliant on metacognitive awareness of self. We will suggest that it is only by seeing the teacher as a learner, making the learning process explicit to yourself and others, asking questions about how the learning process can be improved, experimenting with that thinking and sharing those experiences with fellow learners that a culture of metacognitive transparency will be possible.
In many ways, we are not talking about teachers doing something new or extra. There is wide agreement that teachers should be learners (Baumfield, 2007; MacBeath et al., 2009), and every day they model consciously and unconsciously a number of competencies and practices through their relationships with students (Korthagen 2004; Tickle 1999). Through their talk and the nature of the dialogue in their classrooms (Wegerif 2010), teachers also set up the semiotic frame through which teaching and learning is understood. Some things are consciously owned and promoted by teachers, others operate in the ‘taken for granted’ of culture and accustomed practice. Teachers perform intellectually and personally demanding tasks and therefore do skilled ‘metacognitive work’. The contention of this paper is that bringing this work into the teachers’ awareness and then into classroom dialogue can allow them to model the ‘how’ of metacognition to students still developing those skills.
We will locate our thinking alongside a definition of metacognition that allows direct parallels to be drawn with common language around teaching and learning: ‘reflective and strategic thinking’ (Moseley et al. 2005). By highlighting some of the practices that we have seen in classrooms as part of the Learning to Learn in Schools and Further Education Project (Wall et al. 2010) that are supportive of metacognitive development then we will argue that constructing teachers in the role of metacognitive role models is not a massive leap in theory or practice, even if it does need a shift in how that practice is described and understood. We will suggest that there are certain values and principles, arising from the epistemology of practitioner enquiry and facilitated by the process of action research, that underpin the development of teachers’ metacognition. This requires an openness from teachers and an authentic engagement with their own learning trajectories as well as the immediate learning about teaching and learning that occurs in classrooms every day. Finally we will focus on how a focus on enquiry into learning practices and the opening up of ‘spaces’ for dialogue about learning can enable teachers to recognize their potential as metacognitive role models.
Baumfield, V. (2007) Teachers as learners: promoting professional development through inquiry. Journal of Research and Reflections in Education, 1(2): 147-159 Korthagen,F.A.J. (2004) In search of the essence of a good teacher: towards a more holistic approach in teacher education, Teaching and Teacher Education, 20(1): 77–97 MacBeath, J., Swaffield, S., & Frost, D. (2009). Principled narrative. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 12, 223–237 Moseley, D., Baumfield, V., Elliott, J., Higgins, S., Miller, J., & Newton, D. P. (2005). Frameworks for thinking: A handbook for teaching and learning. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Tickle, L. (1999) Teacher self-appraisal and appraisal of self. In R.P. Lipka, T.M. Brinthaupt (Eds.), The role of self in teacher development, State University of New York Press, Albany, NY: 121–141 Wall, K., Hall, E., Baumfield, V., Higgins, S., Rafferty, V., Remedios, R., ... Woolner, P. (2010). Learning to learn in schools phase 4 and learning to learn in further education (Final Report). London: Campaign for Learning. Retrieved from http://www.campaign- for-learning.org.uk Wegerif, R. (2010) Mind Expanding: Teaching for Thinking and Creativity in Primary Education, Maidenhead: Open University Press/McGraw Hill Wilson, N.S. and Bai, H. (2010) The relationships and impact of teachers’ metacognitive knowledge and pedagogical understandings of metacognition, Metacognition Learning, 5, 269-288. Wittrock, M.C. (1987) Teaching and student thinking, Journal of Teacher Education, 36(6):30-33 Zohar, A. (1999) Teachers’ metacognitive knowledge and the instruction of higher order thinking, Teaching and Teacher Education, 15: 413-429
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