Time icon
Frequency icon
Material icon


10-15 minutes


Multiple times daily


Journal, mind maps, blogs, wikis, diaries, lists, e-tools, emojis, etc.


To teach students to understand their own learning processes, become more aware of themselves and be better able to monitor, plan and control their mental processing

Use some of the following questions routinely to enhance new learning, or to prepare for tests and exams:

  • What was easiest for me to learn in this lesson? Why? How will I use this in my next class?
  • What was most challenging for me to learn? Why? How might I get better at this? What did I do to resolve the challenge?
  • What study strategies worked well as I prepared for my test/exam?
  • What strategies for exam preparation didn’t work well? What will I do differently next time?
  • What study habits worked best for me?
  • What study habits will I try or improve upon for next time?
  • What skills do I have that I can use to be successful?
  • Exit cards
  • Pair/share
  • Circle share
  • Interview
  • Post questions in the classroom and refer to these mid-lesson.

Metacognition (thinking about/ reflecting on one’s thinking) is an essential skill for students’ learning because it facilitates problem solving skills and effective learning strategies which help students take responsibility for their learning (García et al., 2016). Having well-honed metacognitive skills leads to increases in cognitive engagement which is characterized by a student’s level of investment in their own learning, and comprises the actions of being thoughtful and purposeful in the approach to school tasks and being willing to exert the effort necessary to comprehend complex ideas or master difficult skills (Fredericks et al., 2005; Fredericks et al., 2004). Additionally, Embry & Biglan (2008) report that using a motivational interviewing technique whereby someone, such as a teacher, asks questions, either orally or in writing, around major goals or target behaviors leads to increases in social competence, related goals, healthy behaviors, and achievement.

Embry, D. D., & Biglan, A. (2008). Evidence-based kernels: fundamental units of behavioral influence. Clinical child and family psychology review, 11(3), 75–113. doi:10.1007/s10567-008-0036-x

Fredericks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., and Paris, A. (2004). School engagement: potential of the concept: state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74, 59–119.

Fredericks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., Friedel, J., and Paris, A. (2005). School engagement. In K. A. Moore and L. Lippman (Eds.), What do children need to flourish?: conceptualizing and measuring indicators of positive development. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press.

García, T., Rodríguez, C., González-Castro, P., Álvarez-García, D. & González-Pienda, J. (2016). Metacognition and executive functioning in Elementary School. Anales De Psicología, 32(2), 474-483.