The Big Think: 9 Metacognative Stratagies That Make the End Just the Beginning of Learning
David V. Loertscher, Carol Koechlin, and Sandi Zwaan; Hi Willow Research and Publishing; 2009; ISBN 978-1-933170-45-9; $38.00
The typical research assignment might consist of a selection of a topic and the interception of information resulting in a product of some kind that is graded. The end. Next topic, please. However, football coaches approach things quite differently. Yes there is the daily practice culminating in the game. But they videotape the game for a specific reason. Monday, everyone analyzes the game. Put your ego at the door. Watch. Analyze. Synthesize. What when on? How did I do; how did we do; what can we do to get better? If this reflection activity is omitted, the players don’t get any better. Neither do the coaches. The Big Think introduces the same reflection strategies for both classroom teachers and teacher librarians. Here are nine strategies to use as we analyze “the game” – no, the learning activity, particularly when both the teacher and the classroom teacher have been struggling to improve teaching and learning. What happens to coaches when they don’t get better across the season? What happens to the players? In the same way, we posit that there must be a reflection activity at the end of the unit – a metacognitive activity that looks back over the learning event that just occurred. Leave it out at your own risk. There is much talk about metacognition in education. It is part of critical thinking and creative thinking. Everyone seems to uderstand that it should happen but in our look across the educational literature, it is one of those assumptions that it automatically happens when we have little evidence that it does. This trio of authors have created nine strategies that become the cherry atop the whipped cream of a unit sundae. Each strategy can be used to ascertain two major successes or failures: Content learning (what I know; what we know) and Process (how I learned; how we learned) followed by So What? and What’s Next? Such activities give the teacher librarian and the classroom teacher real evidence of what students know, are able to do, and what they deeply understand. We recommend these ideas strongly in the current results milieu. If you have enjoyed this trio’s work in the past, don’t miss this one!