Scholarship epistemology : an exploratory study of teacher metacognition within the context of successful learning communities
Prytula, Michelle Phyllis
Metacognition has been used predominantly as a strategy to improve student thinking and learning and to help students gain an awareness and control over their own thinking (Manning & Payne, 1996; Perfect & Schwartz, 2002; Robson, 2006). Recently, however, metacognition has been recognized as necessary in teacher learning to help teachers gain awareness and control over their thinking (Manning & Payne, 1996). Teacher metacognition is a critical antecedent to student metacognition because, “teachers are not in a position to model higher psychological and metacognitive levels if they have not experienced these levels first as a prerequisite to encouraging them in students” (p. xxi). Schraw and Moshman (1995) stated that having a better understanding of the constructive nature of knowledge and how it happens allows individuals an opportunity to regulate their cognition and learning. The purpose of this study was to explore teacher metacognition within the context of successful learning communities. A phenomenological research method was used. Data were collected from three participants in three separate learning communities using a pre-interview, two semi-structured interviews, several telephone conversations, and a variety of informal contacts. The fist semi-structured interview was designed to access the participants’ experiences as members of their successful learning communities. The second semi-structured interview, termed the metacognitive interview, was designed to access the thinking behind their thinking.It was found that the term metacognition required definitional reframing. This reframing resulted in the creation of an emerging model of Progressive Metacognition, indicating that metacognition was found to be progressive, and was catalyzed through reflection and dialogue. The interview process itself was also found to be an intervention in itself to catalyze metacognition. Each participant in this study was found to have a metacognitive characterization, which I referred to as their metacognitive fingerprint. This fingerprint represented both the participants’ individual characterizations as well as their strategies in influencing the processes of their learning communities. Successes in planning, observation, and reflection provided members with evidence that enabled them to feel capable and competent, thus fueled their drive to continue to invest in the learning communities. Scholarship epistemology was found to have an integral part in the development of metacognition through the successful learning community. By providing participants with important tasks and challenging work within an environment of trust, space, dialogue, reflection, and accountability, deep thinking and learning took place. This study provided needed detail related to Evers and Lakomski’s (2000) theory of socially distributed cognition, indicating that when knowledge travels through the social system, rather than simply assisting in distributing the knowledge, each participant had an effect on the knowledge. Among the implications of this study on theory are its contributions to social learning theory and the action research spiral, indicating the effects of collaboration and success on motivation. Among the implications for research are the need to investigate the direct effects of time, reflection, and discussion on metacognition, as well as the need to conduct a longitudinal study in this area to determine these elements’ long term impacts. Among the implications for practice are a greater understanding of the elements at work in catalyzing metacognition, including the effects of success, as well as the environments and social dynamics required to encourage deep thinking and learning.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeRenihan, Patrick; Ralph, Edwin; Noonan, Warren; Noonan, Brian; Carr-Stewart, Sheila; Ross-Epp, Juanita
socially distributed cognition
Professional Learning Communities