North Island College Teaching & Learning Supports
Teach Anywhere

Metacognitive Teaching

Metacognition (thinking about thinking, learning about learning) is a core competency all students should acquire to assist them with understanding how they learn and then regulating their learning with effective strategies. If we don’t ensure students have competent skills to learn and understand their own learning – then why are we even teaching?

The following handout (curated, edited and enhanced by L. Knaack – 2023) shares a summary of 10 very useful teaching strategies/activities that any post-secondary teacher can use in their courses. Along with the handout, there are associated documents that go along with some of the strategies mentioned.

  • Top Ten Metacognitive Teaching Strategies – PDF Version
  • Modified Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI) – PDF Version
  • Scoring Guide for the Modified Metacognitive Awareness Inventory – PDF Version
  • Approaches to Learning Chart (3 Approaches) – PDF Version
  • Successful Students Differ Chart: Shallow and Deep Learners – PDF Version


Definition: Thinking about One’s Thinking


Research Articles on metacognition


Metacognitive Teaching Strategies





Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) refer to formative, assessment as learning activities for instructors to use to help build metacognitive skills and provide useful and timely feedback to students. Angelo and Cross wrote the definitive book in 1993, but others have taken their work and shared online.

  • 50 CATS by Angelo and Cross: Techniques for Assessing Course-Related Knowledge & Skills – Handout
  • Classroom Assessment Techniques – Vanderbilt University
  • Classroom Assessment Techniques Handout – North Island College PDF Version



Cognitive wrappers are reflective questions that are asked of students before, during and/or after a lesson, an exam, an assignment etc. The questions encourage students to reflect upon how they prepared, how they studied, how they planned and organized their time and how they will apply their learning to a future experience.



Concept maps provide representations of relationships between concepts in a visual manner.



If students had a more metacognitive approach to taking notes, they may be able to study and learn better.



When students have opportunities to reflect, think purposefully about their learning and have a chance to think about what is working and what is not – learning can be enhanced.



Using metaphors to help explain a complex or abstract concept can help students conceptualize and make better connections with the content.