Using Self-Talk to Teach Metacognition

We model a lot of self-talk in literacy through think-alouds when teaching students how to read or write, but have we considered the value of self-talk across the curriculum?

Self-talk refers to the statements we tell ourselves or the questions we ask ourselves in any given situation. Self-talk is a critical part of our thinking process, and as such the quality of self-talk matters. I often talk to myself when I’m working through something particularly challenging. I find it helpful to hear my thoughts out loud, and on occasion a little pep talk comes in handy.

Since self-talk is not usually voiced, it’s difficult to know if we are improving what students are thinking, but more importantly how students are thinking. Since negative self-talk can impair learning, it important that we create opportunities across the curriculum for learners to make thinking visible. When we make thinking visible, we create the conditions for learners to further develop their cognition skills. Self-talk is an opportunity to explicitly teach metacognition.

What the Research Tells Us

  • Self talk emerges in the toddler years
  • Self-talk enables the learner to make links between objects, actions, words and concepts
  • Self-talk facilitates problem solving in collaborative contexts
  • Self-talk facilitates self-regulated learning

(Teaching Math with Meaning, Cathy Marks Krpan)

Cathy Marks Krpan introduced her newest research around Self-Talk in Mathematics at OAME, which has also been published in her new book, Teaching Math with Meaning. The categories below are a work in progress, but provide teachers and students with a solid starting point to begin conversations about self-talk not only in mathematics, but across the curriculum.

7 Categories of Self Talk

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So if self-talk is crucial in developing metacognitive, self-regulating critical thinkers, how are we integrating self-talk across the curriculum?

Let’s connect! Leave a comment below with your ideas, thoughts or questions…

One thought on “Using Self-Talk to Teach Metacognition

  1. Marilyn Weingartner

    Wow – I congratulate you on such a clear view of a critical process ! Wish this idea had been around when I was teaching … Marilyn

    Like

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