What are some examples of metacognition in classrooms?


Author bio

Page last updated: 25/11/2022

What are some examples of metacognition in classrooms?

Some examples of metacognition in the classroom are:

Use of Mnemonics

Mnemonics can be looked at as a useful tool that students can use to improve their retention capacity. This might include various tools like forming associations, use of rhymes, patterns, and abbreviations.

Mnemonics Make it much easier to recall information by adding context to a fact.

Some important tools of mnemonics are:


Making rhymes out of a name helps to remember and recall the name much better the next time a person encounters it.


Forming associations particularly between familiar and unfamiliar entities makes it easier for individuals to remember information.

For example, remembering people with names shared by your family members are much easier to recall than those names that are completely unfamiliar.

Thinking and learning journals

Maintaining journals can help students in the classroom to develop their ability to monitor and plan their progress which helps to promote the skills of self-reflection in a long term.

Some questions that students can be asked to reflect upon on a weekly or daily basis by their teachers are:

  • What was the most challenging part of learning during the week and why?
  • What was the easiest part of learning during the week and why?
  • Which strategy helped the most during the week?
  • Which habits can they improve for the next week?

Thinking or learning journals not only help in self-reflection but also help in maintaining a record of their ideas that they have concerning a particular topic or lesson and follow-up questions that they would want more information on.

Metacognitive talk

Metacognitive talk is a tool where students talk through what they are thinking while they are performing a task. This helps the students to remain more concentrated and better understand their thinking patterns. Some questions that students might ask and answer out loud are:

  • What is the knowledge I have about a particular topic?
  • What have I done differently in a similar task?
  • What do I need to prioritize?
  • What should I do differently?
  • How do I approach for help?
  • How well did I perform a particular task?
  • What can I do differently the next time in a similar task?

Reciprocal teaching

Reciprocal teaching it’s a strategy where students take up the role of the teacher and teach strategies to other students. They show their fellow students how to question what they’ve read and clarify their doubts if any.

Apart from this they also summarize the lesson plan and make informed predictions about what they have covered. This strategy helps to enhance one’s knowledge and understanding of each learning strategy.

Use of traffic lights

Traffic lights can be a great medium in a classroom to indicate the level of understanding and existing confusion or challenges regarding a lesson.

Red light can be indicated if students find a particular lesson challenging. Yellow light can be used when a particular topic pushed them to think differently, and a green light for those topics that were well understood by the students.

This traffic light exercise can be performed on a worksheet by answering questions at the end of each lesson. This strategy helps them to reflect upon their learnings and metacognitive capabilities.

Apart from using the traffic lights to understand the student’s level of learning students can also use neutral, smiling, and frowning faces to indicate their level of comfort with a particular topic covered in class.

What are some examples of metacognition in classrooms?


Students can get into the habit of giving and receiving feedback in classrooms. Feedbacks can play an important role in developing the metacognitive abilities of students.

However, feedback systems are effective only if they are given accurately and descriptively.

Setting goals

Students must be encouraged to set their goals. Setting goals is considered to be one of the most crucial ways to monitor their learning process and reflect upon whether they need to make any changes in the learning techniques.

The goals set by the students must be realistic yet challenging in a way that they are pushed out of their comfort zones to build the required metacognitive skills.

Having metacognitive abilities implies that a student can perceive their cognitive abilities, coordinate their learning, assess their execution, understand what caused their victories or disappointments, and learn additional strategies.

It can also help students to re-evaluate their performance and move towards self-improvement. It makes them learn more efficiently and more effectively leading to higher rates of success.


What are the characteristics of students with metacognitive skills?

Students with metacognitive skills in the classroom might display certain characteristics such as:

  • They recognize their difficulties concerning the application of relevant mathematic formulas.
  • Actively recall the tasks and solutions they have done and adopted in the past.
  • Re-apply previously used strategies or newly learned strategies to problems and access their effectiveness.
  • Consciously reflect upon their performance in the current task and note down the take-backs for future reference.

What are the four levels of metacognitive learners in a classroom?

According to David Perkins, there are four types of metacognitive learners in a class which are as follows:

Tacit learners

Tacit learners are those who are unaware of their metacognitive abilities. They do not dwell on any learning tool or strategy.

Aware learners

Aware learners are those who know about some strategies they use and make a record of ideas they hold.

Strategic learner   

Strategic learners are those who use active problem-solving skills, decision-making, and evidence-seeking skills. They are very mindful of their strategic moves.

Reflective learners

These are learners who apart from being strategic about their thinking also reflect upon their learning.

Identifying the levels of a student helps the teacher to provide support to the students accordingly.

What are the benefits of metacognition in classrooms?

The significant and identifiable benefits of metacognition in classrooms are:

Increased levels of independent learning in students  

Metacognition in classrooms provides for the students increased levels of independent learning. Students become capable of tracking their progress and taking active control of their learning inside and outside the class hours.

Improved risk-bearing abilities in students

Metacognition also provides for higher resilience in students. It helps them to note down their strengths and weaknesses and the relevant strategies to maximize their strengths or reduce their weaknesses.

Higher achievement levels in students

Metacognitive skills also help students become successful and positive learns. They equip the students with the required skills to achieve their goals by overcoming their potential barriers.

Works for students of all classes

It is found that metacognitive strategies are helpful for students of all ages be it primary or secondary class students. Research also indicates that metacognitive skills can be introduced to students as young as pre-school age.

Provides for the social and emotional growth of the students.

Being aware of one’s mental process allows students to regulate their mood and improve their overall confidence. They also become more socially mature.


Metacognitive skills in the classroom among students are beneficial for all. They help students to become positive and better learners over time.

Considering the easy integrating nature of the metacognitive skills in the classroom all teachers can foster effective metacognitive skills in students for successful and optimal outcomes.

Frequently asked questions

How is metacognition used in classrooms?

Metacognitive strategies can be used in classrooms when initiated by the teachers through modeling. Teachers can help students work on their metacognitive abilities by posing several questions that push students towards reflective thinking.

Apart from this giving explicit instructions about the ways, one thinks through a task is also crucial for building the required skills in students.

What is metacognitive learning?

Metacognition in simple terms is referred to as thinking about one’s thinking. Individuals can do this by gaining a greater understanding of a subject matter.

What are some ways to apply metacognition in everyday school activities?

Some strategies that students can apply in everyday school activities to enhance their metacognitive skills are

  • By thinking aloud
  • Maintaining a journal
  • Actively asking questions to yourself
  • Consciously organizing your thoughts
  • Making notes from memory
  • Providing feedback to oneself and others
  • Reflecting on one’s existing knowledge

What is teacher metacognition?

During planning a particular task, students process the learning goals that the teachers have set for them and consider the various ways that the goals can be achieved by actively applying useful strategies.