Metacognition

The discussion about ending our classes every day with self reflection/metacognition happened after Jason left, around 19-20 February. Annemarie has written about her own experience with it here:

I’ve had a lot of trouble managing my 7th graders, and I have the idea of videotaping my 6th graders during PQA or a story and SHOWING it to my 7th graders so that they can see what it’s supposed to look like. I also have many truant students, even at the middle school level.

Our school has a tremendously high transient rate also, which I find so frustrating – I’ll get a new 8th grader who has little or no Spanish half way through the year. That’s why it’s such a good idea to have the “check list” [ed. note: she means this: https://benslavic.com/blog/2012/02/18/rules-2012/].

We’ve been discussing and continually going back to it and reflecting upon it. If we create the culture in the classroom that students take responsibility for their learning because they know what’s expected of them in the class, then a student will see and feel this culture and will have no choice but to enter it as well.

At my school right now we are focusing on the “metacognitive” piece around students learning – they are constantly assessing themselves on their knowledge of content as well as their habits of learning while being given clear learning goals or targets, as we call them.

The idea is that if they self-assess and monitor their progress on the learning targets, they are more likely to reach that target. Using CI in the world language classroom lends itself so well to student engaged assessment because there is power in reflecting upon the way they are learning – they can really get better at it.

My learning targets don’t look like this “I can distinguish between a subject pronoun and a verb in a Spanish sentence” but rather like this “I can recognize when I don’t understand something in Spanish” or “I can following along while reading in Spanish with my finger.” It helps that the teachers in the rest of my school are focusing on using learning targets and students engaged assessment.

 

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5 thoughts on “Metacognition”

  1. So in reading the first three chapters of my novel, I’ve done some introductory vocab before each chapter. I PQA this, and I’ve done a little grammar explanations for a couple of the structures. It seems as though a lot of kids in my class are becoming 4%-ers, because they’re asking grammar-like questions. I just wanted to throw out there that when they saw -ent at the end of a verb, then it’s plural, but it is never, never, ever pronounced. I then wanted to move on à la Susie–just point out the grammar and keep going. But the kids were asking questions about other words on the page that ended in -ent, if there’s an -ent and you don’t pronounce it, how do you know it’s more than one person? So where do I end this? It was natural curiosity, I think ; I don’t think they were trying to derail my train of thought! But is there such a thing as too far?

  2. …I’ve done some introductory vocab before each chapter….

    If the book is at the right level for them, I feel no need to do that, but that is just me.

    …I’ve done a little grammar explanations for a couple of the structures. It seems as though a lot of kids in my class are becoming 4%-ers, because they’re asking grammar-like questions….

    You may be leading them on in that respect. Keep them entirely out of the analytical piece except for:

    this means that

    like nt means they

    You want them to notice things, not think about them. Big difference. It’s hard for us as 4%ers to avoid the grammar explanation, the words feel so good in our mouth, but if the research is correct, and it is, we are just wasting time and alienating most of the class.

    …I just wanted to throw out there that when they saw -ent at the end of a verb, then it’s plural, but it is never, never, ever pronounced….

    Avoid the word plural and all grammar terms, it means little to them, and giving out the rules of pronunciation is a complete waste of time, because their minds cannot learn how to pronounce a language by thinking about such rules. I know, I know. It took forever for me to get that one but there it is.

    That sentence above, again, should be:

    nt means they

    Three to four nanoseconds and you are back into the CI.

  3. It’s unwork. Unlearn all the grammar stuff. Learners of languages don’t need it. Only blowhards who are insecure in their ability to unleash the beauty of what Krashen has uncovered need it. Let it go. Let it be. And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be.

  4. On unlearning: Here’s a few lyrics from a song that came to mind. Not about letting it be, but letting it go, teaching kids to let OUR baggage go. It’s called “the last balloon” by XTC

    Climb aboard, climb aboard you children
    Move aloft, while you’re fleet and fast
    Climb aboard, climb aboard you children
    We’re weighed down by our evil past

    Drop us all, you should drop us all
    Drop us all and free your hand
    Drop us all, you should drop us all
    Drop us all like so much sand

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