If you have ever been teaching anything, let alone taking a course or being in a classroom with students, then you will find this article helpful for what to do when your students are struggling and not understanding.
Metacognition of the student is an important skill to teach that can help improve their learning and performance. As a teacher, how do you help them improve? The answer is by teaching strategies that develop metacognition.
Metacognition refers to “cognition about cognition”. It is the ability to be aware of your own cognitive processes. A task-oriented form of metacognition is called self regulation, it includes monitoring and evaluation of one’s performance (Leutner & Leutner, 2011).
These are important skills for students to have in order to better prepare them for college and also just being a student in general. Metacognition can be thought of as knowledge about knowledge. Students who use this knowledge-based process do things such as monitor their understanding, assess their own reasoning strategies, evaluate the effectiveness of their learning strategies and evaluate how well they learned material.
Have you ever had a student call you and tell you that they can’t do the assignment? Are they indicating that they are ill or feeling unwell? Sometimes students don’t realize that even if they are not feeling well, they can still complete an assignment. Advising students to take a sick day when needed is something that we all know how to do… but when it comes time for the teacher to be advising their students, it is much tougher.
One of the most difficult situations for a teacher is when their student does not understand something, yet refuses to ask clarifying questions or try and figure out what he/she doesn’t understand. When this occurs in my classroom I have found some strategies to work with them on.
If a student is having trouble recalling something that he/she learned, I will provide them with a quick review. This will help them to recall what they already know, rather than having to learn something new. A review can be done in multiple ways; by giving them a brief quiz, asking them to use the content of the material in a sentence or even writing down everything that they already know about the topic.
I have also had students who have difficulty with setting a goal for themselves and committing to it. One strategy that I use with my students is by utilizing their self-talk while they are studying or trying to learn new material.