The importance of metacognitive strategies in reading.
Research has found that students’ comprehension was not enhanced by merely reading more text. If the students used even one metacognitive strategy, for example summarising, comprehension was greatly improved. In addition, if students were given a host of strategies that they could apply at their discretion, comprehension was greatly improved.
The most effective and easiest strategies to teach are as follows:
- Questioning – Pose questions before, during and after reading or instruction to help the children to focus on the key points they should be learning.
- Summarising – Have the children summarise or retell what they have read or heard. As they do this more and more, they will learn how to more effectively identify central ideas.
- Visualisation – As the children experience a text, whether they are reading it silently or out loud or it is being read to them, have them imagine using all five of their senses to experience the text. In their mind, what do they see, hear or smell? What does it feel like on their skin?
Year 3 learnt how to summarise the main aspects of a text. Summarising is an important life skill which plays an important role in their ability to comprehend and retell stories.
Reya Varsani in 3S summarised the story Curious George using the strategies learnt above.
Keren Adomako in 4V summarised using the five ‘Ws’ and one ‘H’ – Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?
The importance of metacognitive strategies in problem solving.
Why would the ability to think about our own thinking help a child with problem solving? To be a strong learner and a problem solver you have to be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. This requires metacognition. You have to be able to understand the nature of the problem and the demands it will take to complete the task, which also requires metacognition. You have to be knowledgeable about the strategies you are going to use and that are available to you. This is also powered by metacognition.
In addition to this, the skill of reflecting when problem solving is also essential as one needs to review and reflect on problems to ensure that we fully comprehend the issue and have considered all the options.
To help children become good at solving logic problems and puzzles, it is important that they are taught the appropriate skills and strategies and understand how and when to use them. These include:
- Identifying carefully what is known and what needs to be found out, and thinking about how they relate.
- Looking through the information that is given to find any relationships or patterns that can be developed and used.
- Developing a line of thinking that involves making inferences and deduction, for example “If i know that then this could or must be true” and testing these out against given information.
- Taking one piece of information and changing it, while keeping everything else fixed, to see what effect it has on the problem.
- Choosing a way of recording and organising the given information that helps us see how the problem is structured.
- Checking answers along the way to see if there are any conditions or rules.