In this lesson, we will examine metacognition, which according to Price-Mitchell (2020) is monitoring your own thought processes and existing state of knowledge.  When engaging in critical thinking people use metacognitive skills like monitoring their thought process, checking whether progress is being made toward the goal, ensuring accuracy, and making decisions about the use of time and mental effort.

Learning Objectives

After completing this module learners will be able to identify metacognition and demonstrate knowledge with a minimum quiz score of 70%.  Learners will demonstrate the ability to apply the knowledge by participating in the discussion forum.


What is Metacognition?

Metacognition, according to Price-Mitchell (2020) is the practice of being aware of your own thoughts.  It is commonly referred to as “thinking about thinking”.  It is high-order thinking skills that enable people to become better thinkers and decision-makers.  Price-Mitchel says, “when we notice that we are having an inner dialogue about our thinking and that prompts us to evaluate our learning or problem-solving processes, we are experiencing metacognition at work.”

Critical aspects of metacognition

Fogarty and Pete say the three vital aspects of metacognition for children to learn are planning, monitoring, and evaluation. They say “the key is to encourage students to explore and question their own metacognitive strategies in ways that become spontaneous and seemingly unconscious.”  These skills are important in helping students gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.

Three phases of metacognition

1. Planning means developing a plan before beginning a task.  An example is checking a math problem carefully to see what is required to find the solution.  To help students access prior knowledge and form questions, start by reading the headings, first and last paragraphs.  Use prior knowledge or the skimming of what you read and make a prediction about what you are about to read.  When testing, read the questions first to plan how you will read the passage.

2. Monitoring involves tracking your understanding while you are reading or working on a math problem.  As you read through a passage, focus on the main idea of the paragraph.  Reword important points into your own words.  Create and use self-monitoring cards.

3. Evaluating is done after a solution has been found to determine how the strategies worked and deciding what you may do in the future.  Were your questions answered?  Use the self-monitoring card, reflect on whether or not you had trouble understanding at any point.  Were your predictions about the reading true?  Look at what strategies helped with the reading and what other strategies might help. Did you correctly answer the comprehension questions? Why or why not?


A study by Magno (2010) looked at the influence of metacognition on critical thinking skills and hypothesized that critical thinking occurs when individuals use metacognitive skills.  Metacognition incorporates all the characteristics of critical thinking.  Critical thinking is a powerful tool that can bring about real changes both within an individual’s life and on the problems that critical thinking is attempting to solve.

Discussion Forum



InnerDrive. (2020, June 23). 8 ways to develop metacognitive skills. Retrieved April 6, 2021, from https://blog.innerdrive.co.uk/eight-ways-to-develop-metacognitive-skills

Magno, C. (2010). The role of metacognitive skills in developing critical thinking. Metacognition and Learning, 5(2), 137-156. doi:10.1007/s11409-010-9054-4

Metacognition, G. (2019, June 28). Metacognition activities & strategies: The ultimate guide. Retrieved March 21, 2021, from https://www.globalmetacognition.com/post/metacognition-activities-strategies-the-ultimate-guide

Price-Mitchell, M. (2020, October 9).  What Is Metacognition? How Does It Help Us Think?  Retrieved April 6, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-moment-youth/202010/what-is-metacognition-how-does-it-help-us-think