Being Metacognitive: Good for You and for Your Students

Prof. Aaron Richmond speaking with faculty at the Center for Teaching

We were pleased at the large turnout for Prof. Aaron Richmond’s workshop on September 23rd called, “The Compleat Metacognitive Teacher.” What is a metacognitive teacher? Very simply stated, it is a teacher who takes time to reflect on his/her teaching and his/her students’ learning--what is working and what isn’t working--and makes changes accordingly. Prof. Richmond led us through a series of self-assessments and discussed several, evidence-based practices of metacognitive teachers: having a metacognitive and learner-centered syllabus to begin a semester, using formative classroom assessment techniques to gauge student learning throughout the semester, and frequent student evaluations of your teaching and self-assessments of their own learning. He also argued that engaging in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning can be a valuable method and motivator for thinking about (and adjusting) our teaching practices. Prof. Richmond left all workshop attendees with an assignment that revealed the heart of being a metacognitive, or self-reflective, teacher:

Step 1. Evaluate one of your courses.
Step 2. Create a plan for implementation.
Step 3. Experiment!
Step 4. Assess the implementation (hint: SoTL project).
Step 5. Repeat steps 1-4. Step 6. Never stop repeating steps 1-4.

If you weren’t able to join us at the workshop, or if you would like to refer back to his presentation or use some of his tools, you can find the Powerpoint, a video of his workshop, and readings HERE. Prof. Richmond is a Professor of Educational Psychology at Metro State University of Denver and co-author of a new book from Routledge, An Evidence-based Guide to College and University Teaching: Developing the Model Teacher (2016), which you can find on the CFT bookshelf and check out at circulation. Thanks to everyone who joined us for this energetic and thought-provoking workshop!