American Sociological Association

Teaching about Learning: The Effects of Instruction on Metacognition in a Sociological Theory Course

This article investigates the effects of teaching about metacognition in a sociological theory course. I created a series of teaching interventions to introduce students to the science of learning, including an interactive lecture on metacognition, a discussion that models metacognitive strategies, and activities for students to practice metacognition. This article describes those teaching interventions and assesses whether direct instruction led to greater use of metacognitive and cognitive strategies, confidence, and motivation to learn. Data were collected over seven semesters using a pretest–posttest approach. Comparison of means showed that students who received metacognitive instruction did not differ significantly from a control group on strategy use, confidence, or motivation. Regression analyses show that metacognitive instruction did lead to greater use of metacognitive strategies. While instruction in metacognition did not produce all desired effects, this research illustrates the value of incorporating the science of learning in sociology courses.


Julie A. Pelton





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