How can we practice meta-learning in the maths classroom?
Meta-learning makes learning more effective and exposes some of the hidden aspects of student’s experiences as learners. So, how can you create a classroom environment full of rich dialogue for meta-learning?
Educational researcher and theorist Chris Watkins suggests there are three main ways to develop the flow of conversation, reflection, and awareness of learning within the classroom:
You can encourage reflection by asking learners questions like, “what did you notice about your reading?” or, “what did you notice about how you solved that maths problem?”.
Questions of this type promote natural conversations about learning which then become infused into the classroom culture.
Narrating is the process of remembering, telling, and discussing stories of yourself as a learner. There are lots of ways to inspire learners to describe their learning experiences.
The activity I mentioned at the start of the blog (asking a child to use a symbol or metaphor to describe themselves as a learner) is a springboard for ongoing conversations about learning.
Storyboarding is a useful framework for students to remember and capture learning experiences. Another way to spark a conversation is to provide a sentence starter like, “things I do that help me to take charge of my learning are…”.
Navigating uses the metaphor of a journey to develop learner agency and self-direction. Other effective concepts in this framework are the sense of seeking a destination, making choices on the road, using a map, and finding direction. Viewing the learning process in this way means you can ask questions like:
- Where do we want to get to?
- How are things ‘on the road’?
- Where did we get to at journey’s end?