Stratégies métacognitives – réseaux sociaux

The Use of Metacognitive Strategies and the Role of Social Network in Autonomous Learning in 21st Century

par Sunporn Eiammongkhonsakun (Srinakharinwirot University)

[article publié avec l’accord de l’auteur]

9th ICED Conference 2012

Across Globe Higher Education Learning and Teaching

23-25 July 2012 Bangkok, Thailand

ABSTRACT

This article aims to explain the systematic learning strategies in the autonomous learning of student-centered  learning principles by using metacognitive theories. To achieve this, students have to understand  the class assignments  they receive, consider related background  knowledge,  lay out their plans,  find  solutions  for  problems  they  encounter  to  achieve  the  activities’  goal,  and  integrate  the knowledge and experiences they obtain with the new knowledge they will gain next time. All of these will  help  students  achieve  learning  autonomy.    Metacognitive  theories  encourage  students  to  have freedom of thought to manage their learning autonomously  within the course objectives  designed by their teachers.   Moreover, regarding the technological advancement in the 21st  century, social network seems to be one of the tools to help students  attain learning  autonomy.   Therefore,  this article  will discuss  the role of social  network,  i.e. Facebook,  as a tool to help those  students,  especially  Asian students, who are too shy to express their opinions in front of their peers and teachers.   However, one thing teachers might have to take into consideration is whether the use of social network will decrease students’  participation  in class or not, and how to solve this problem  when technology  is merely  a classroom that teachers and students can share but can never have a direct interaction.

Introduction

In the 21st century, information and communication technology (ICT) has constantly been developed and expanded to every population group in a very fast rate. To keep up with this change, we, the educators, need to readjust our teaching plans and strategies in order to motivate our learners and to encourage  them to adjust themselves  creatively  and effectively  to this new learning context in order that they can create new bodies of knowledge by themselves. Therefore, the learning strategy of the 21st century  can  no  longer  be  about  memorizing  everything  in  the  textbooks  since  ICT  has  opened  a window  to a new  era  of leaning,  where  everyone  can  search  for  any  kind  of information  through websites like Google or Wikipedia.

As a result, learners need to know how to select information  that is beneficial to their study and is consistent  with the leaning objectives.  In order to do this, learners need to understand  and be aware of the objectives of the assigned task before start searching for any information. This can be an unfamiliar process to learners who are used to the old learning style where teachers have already set the learning objectives.

The new learning style emphasizes on learners as the center of the true learning. Its purpose is to  create   knowledgeable   and  skilled   learners.   From   direct   experiences   and  researching,   using metacognitive strategies and training learners to be interactive to one another before jumping to the conclusion that teachers need to solve the facing problems by themselves seem to decrease learners’ dependence on teachers and promote autonomous learning.

This article aims to present an overall picture of how academic institutes in Thailand create their own curriculum by adapting the Ministry of Education’s Basic Education Core Curriculum 2008 with the 21st century learning framework set by Partnership for 21st Century Skills. This is to show that Thai educators who are involved with education planning are aware of and are trying to promote this new type of 21st  century  learners.  This article  also attempts  to explain  metacognition  theory  that is related to learning cognition, i.e., learners awareness of what they know and don’t know, how learners can organize their working systematically,  how learners can logically solve problems by themselves, and how learners can learn to work in groups to exchange their ideas and come up with new body of knowledge etc. However, since Asian learners are mostly reluctant to speak out in front of either their teachers or their classmates even though they have something to say, the use of one of the ICT tools, web  2.0, or what  is widely  known  as social  network,  i.e. Facebook,  comes  in handy  because  it is popular among teenagers. If teachers are able to utilize this innovation in their teaching context, it can become a useful tool that can encourage interactions between teachers and learners and among learners themselves.

The 21st Educational System’s Framework

Partnership for 21st Century Skills has proposed the 21st century learning framework shown in

figure 1.

Fig 1: The 21st Century Student Outcomes and Support Systems

If  we  categorize  the  Thai  Basic  Education  Core  Curriculum  2008  implemented   by  the Ministry  of  Education  to  be  used  with  primary  and  secondary  school  students  according  to  the Partnership for 21st Century Skills framework, the results are as follows:

Table 1: The Ministry of Education’s 21st Century Curriculum According to Partnership for 21st

Century Framework

Core subjects
  • Thai Language
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Mathematics
  • Arts
  • Science
  • Occupations and Technology
  • Social  Studies,  Religion  and Culture
  • Foreign Languages
21st century themes
  • Learners  are well-balanced  in terms of physical  health, knowledge, and morality, and are aware of their responsibilities and commitment as Thai citizens and members of the world community.
  • Learners acquire knowledge, fundamental skills and values essential for further education, career, and livelong learning. The learner- centered approach is advocated, based on the conviction that all are capable of learning and self-development to their highest potentiality.
Learning and innovationskills
  • Learners  are  equipped  with  universal  knowledge,  and  communicating, thinking, problem-solving, technological know-how, and life skills.
Information,  media  and technology skills
  • Learners are able to choose and utilize different technologies, have technological know-how, can develop themselves and the societies creatively, correctly, and morally in terms of learning, communicating, working, problem-solving aspects.
Life and career skills
  • Communication Capacity
  • Capacity for Applying Life Skills
  • Thinking Capacity
  • Capacity for Technological Application
  • Problem-solving Capacity
21st         century      supportsystems 21st century Curriculum and Teaching Strategies

  • Learners  are  most  important;  all  are  capable  of learning  and  self- development; priority is given to learners’ benefits.
  • Learners   are   encouraged   to  use   variety   of  learning   processes; teachers must select appropriate teaching methods and techniques, learning   media/resources,   and  evaluation   measures   to  allow  the learners to develop to their highest potentiality.

Career development

Learner development activities are divided into three types as follow:

1.     Counseling Activities

These   activities   are   aimed   at   encouraging   and   developing learners  to know themselves,  know how to protect the environment,  be able  to  make  decisions,  solve  problems,  set  goals  and  make  plans  in regard to their education and future careers and adapt themselves appropriately.  Furthermore,  these activities will enable teachers to know and understand their students and therefore assist and advise parents regarding their participation in learner development.

2.     Student Activities

These activities are aimed at instilling self-discipline,  ability to lead and follow, teamwork, responsibility, problem-solving ability, appropriate decision-making, rationality, helpfulness and generosity, care, concern and unity. The activities are organized in accord with capacities, aptitudes and interests of learners, who practice the activities at all stages, i.e., study, analysis, planning, plan implementation, evaluation and improvement.   Emphasis   is   given   to   teamwork   as   appropriate   and consistent with learners’ maturity and school and local contexts.

3.     Activities for Social and Public Interest

These activities are aimed at encouraging learners to devote themselves and provide voluntary services for the benefit of society, their communities   and   local   areas   in   accord   with   their   interests,   thus manifesting commitment, virtue, sacrifice for social causes and public- mindedness.  They include voluntary services in various fields and those for public interest and concerns.

Learning Environment

  • Teachers should prepare and utilize learning media to help promoting and   supporting   management   of   the   learning   process,   enabling learners to efficiently acquire knowledge, skills, processes and characteristics as prescribed in the curriculum standards.
  • Teachers should study and analyze individual learners, and then use the data obtained for planning learning management.
  • Learners set the goals of learning, make plans and take responsibility for their own learning. Learners also seek knowledge through the analysis and synthesis process.

Even though this curriculum seems to meet the criteria of the Partnership for 21st century framework,  what educators should give more attention to is the practicality  of the implementation  of this curriculum in the school. That is, after such an excellent planning, those who are involved should keep a close eye on the real result so that they could revise any ineffective measures. Jay McTighe and Elliott Seif [2011] asked two interesting questions:

1.      How can we effectively integrate a satisfying result for the 21st  century with the existing jam-packed curriculum?

2.      Which kind of education guidelines or school structures would or would not support the development of the satisfying results for the 21st century?

So, it is very essential that every educator work together to find the answers that would help create and improve education system and the learning process that is up-to-date. This will help create learners  who will become  valuable  resources  in the society.  Besides  the revision  of the curriculum, which is a core structure of educational  system, the instilling in the learners the skills and characters that  will  help  them  learn  autonomously  is also  another  important  factor  that  educators  should  pay attention to. So the metacognition theory that both learners and educators can apply to encourage autonomous learning is proposed.

Metacognitive Strategies

Metacognition is one of the sciences that scholars have taken into interest since the end of the 20st   century.  It  is  a  theory  that  integrates  various  sciences  together,  i.e.,  linguistics,  neurology, psychology,  cognitive psychology,  artificial intelligence,  cognition, and contemplation.  Its purpose is to give answers to questions  like: “How do humans store the knowledge  in their brains?;” “How do humans understand language?;” “How do humans understand what they see?;” what psychological processes involve in the interpretation,  the cognition, the problem-solving  and the strategizing, which are high-level mental processes that involve the control or the managing of the lower-level mental.

Before the 21st century, metacognition is not widely known in the field of education because it lacks clear explanation  of the theory and indicators  of metacognitive  competences.  There is also no serious and organized mutual understanding among scholars about this theory.

Metacognition   science  is  a  concept  about  human  cognition;  an  invisible  process  which happens so fast that it is thought to happen automatically without going under thinking process. So, in the  past,  the  educators  had  tried  to  study  consequences  resulted  from  this  unaware-of-the-process cognition, the understanding level, problems that occurred, and their solutions etc.

In 1974,  long  before  Flavell’s  explanation  [1976 : 232]  of the  theory  becomes  what  most scholars refer to, Leclercq & Poumay [2004 : 3], with reference to Carver, divided the assessment  of learners’ ability into two dimensions: Psychometric and edumetric. This made the educators start to see the way to develop metacognitive competences.

Flavell [1976 : 232] explains that metacognition is a person’s mental ability to be aware of his thinking process, things that resulted from his thinking process, and other things that might affect his thinking process, such as the characteristic of the data, that is useful for his knowledge acquisition. Metacognition   composes   of  several  processes   but  the  main  processes   are:  the  controlling,   the proceeding  to the goal, and the assessment,  with the awareness  of factors  that affects  the cognitive process to achieve objectives of specific activities.

Lafortune  and  St  Pierre  [1996]  suggests  the  way  to  apply  metacognition  science  in  the classrooms by dividing it into three aspects: metacognitive  knowledge, mental activities’ management and recognizability  of mental activities. They explain that people who have metacognitive  experience are the ones who are able to assess the situation of the tasks they are assigned to do, who are able to say whether the tasks are easy or difficult to understand, who are able to remember or find their ways to achieve the goals they have set. These people are considered to have metacognitive experience, that is, to have  the  ability  of thinking’s  reflexion  while  they  are  in the  middle  of the  acquisition  training activities and mental activities’ management.

There are three types of metacognitive knowledge: the self-knowledge such as knowing one’s own  weak  and  strong  points;  the  knowledge  about  the  tasks ;  and  the  knowledge  about  various strategies and about when to use which strategy to get the most out of the situation. Mental activities’ management is the ability to effectively choose and apply various strategies that are appropriate to the person’s context in doing different tasks, starting from activities planning, activities supervision and problem solving. Lafortune and St Pierre explain that the planning strategy occurs after learners have studied all the information.  Task supervision  strategy occurs while learners are examining  what they have done to assess the working progress, the effectiveness of different strategies, and the satisfaction of the results.  The problem  solving  occurs  after the task supervision  to decide  whether  to continue using  the  current  strategy  or  to  stop  using  it,  or  to  change  to  another  strategy  after  knowing  the advantages and the disadvantages of the previous strategy. In the end, the recognizability of mental activities is very beneficial for the enhancement of metacognitive knowledge and for the development of thinking skills.

Hence, in each learning context, learners often acquire two roles at the same time: the task participant using cognitive strategies and the activity creator using metacognitive strategies (planning, assessing, and problem solving). Moreover, besides the different bodies of knowledge, teachers should at the same time give importance  to the strategies to motivate their learners. Lafortune and St Pierre divide   affectivity   into   five   characteristics:   attitude,   emotion,   motivation,   attribution   and   self- confidence. In order to develop learners’ metacognitive competences, teachers should create tasks that encourage learners to freely use their own thinking process. For example, teachers can encourage group discussion  or  encourage  learners  to  think  of  the  condition  of  the  tasks  they  are  doing  (i.e.,  the knowledge and ability involve in the activities), or encourage learners to examine the context of those tasks. Moreover, to promote autonomous learning, teachers should encourage communications  among learners so that they have an opportunity to exchange their ideas and to come up with new bodies of knowledge that can replace old learning style of memorizing everything the teachers say. Teachers can also come up with recreation activities that help create learners’ motivation to learn. For the assessment of  learners’  achievement,  teachers  can  use  coevaluation  strategy  by  assessing  both  learners  and teachers at the same time or use autoevaluation strategy with the more experienced learners.

Teachers may divide the development of metacognitive competences assessment into two aspects— activity process and level of understanding. By using open-ended questions, teachers may be able to inspire learners to think logically, so that they are able to examine and evaluate what they have learned and done. Below are the examples of metacognitive competences assessment.

Table 2: Metacognitive Competences Assessment

Level of Understanding

Activity Process

• What do you think is difficult and why?• What can you understand very well and why?• Which part do you need to get back to for a better understanding and why? Compare the results of the expectation of activity process with the actual  activity.  Explain  and discuss  the reasons  why the results are different.
The ability to process group activity:How  enthusiastic  and  how  much  the  students  are  involved  in sharing their ideas.
Survey whether learners have thought back about the working process and whether they do the self-assessment and how they do it.
Study how learners correct their mistakes and whether they record their mistakes after doing the self-assessment or not.

To respond to the development  of Information and Communication  Technology (ICT) in the 21st century, the application of social network like Facebook in the classroom is one of the modern and useful tools that will help motivate learners to participate in the class, especially Asian learners who are reluctant to speak out because they are afraid of embarrassing themselves.

Social network

Social network is the grouping of Internet users who have the same interest together. To use social network in the classroom can motivate learners to exchange their ideas with their teachers and classmates even though this exchange only occur in a virtual classroom where the teacher is not in their presence.  It encourages  learners  to speak  out, to improve  their critical  thinking  skills,  and to work together to create new bodies of knowledge instead of depending on teachers only.

At the present, the scholars are interested in using social network, especially Facebook. They focus on the analysis of learners’ motivation and the benefits teachers and learners will get from this innovation  [B. Marchal ; 2009, M. D. Roblyer, M. McDaniel,  M. Webb, J. Herman and J. V. Witty; 2010, N. Dogruer,  I. Menevis  and R. Eyyam ; 2011, A. Nadkarni  & S. G. Hofmann ; 2012]. In his article,  « Le  microblogue  ou  miniblogue,  outil  d’interaction  quasi  simultanée  entre  apprenant  et tuteur » [2009],  B. Marchal,  who is one of the earlier  educators  who study  the use of Web  2.0 or Facebook in Thai classroom, confirms the benefits of social network. He states that since, whether in a real  or virtual  classroom,  there  is always  an  interaction  between  teachers  and  learners  and  among learners themselves; social network is a very beneficial tool that offers immense resources and leads to the foundation of collective intelligence through each learner personal contribution.1

The  first  reason  for  this  is  the  time  constraint.  In  the  present  world  of  ICT,  millions  of information  are  available  for  learners  to  gain  access  to  and  they  need  to  be  able  to  choose  them appropriately  and  fast.  Moreover,  the fact  that  learners  are able  to convey  their  thoughts  in a few sentences through their mobile phones or notebooks is considered the true reflection from them. Also, learners these days read less and less. So for them to search for the information they want from Web 2.0, which is considered convenient and is the biggest resources, is the way to practice their reading strategies  and  skills.  They  learn  to  see  and  understand   the  big  picture  and  then  narrow  their understanding down to specific information that they are looking for.

The application of social network in the classroom encourages autonomous learning. Learners are assigned to do continuous activities that teachers have already planned in advance. These activities come  with  different  conditions  and  limitations  to make  learners  practice  how  to plan,  gather  their thoughts, and solve the problems.  Besides, in stead of the old style of learning through textbooks  or teaching  materials,  working  on Web 2.0 creates new, colorful  and creative  learning  atmosphere  and helps  encourage  learners  to  express  their  opinion.  And  since  Web  2.0  is  considered  a networking activity, teachers can also persuade learners to find additional information from different websites and to consult with their classmates to work together in order to achieve their goals of learning.

1 Translation from French.

Conclusion

Overall, to practice metacognitive competence skills makes learners learn logically and systematically,  thus encourage  learners’  autonomy.  So social network  is considered  one of the tools that help learners  improve  this important  learning  skill.  However,  this 21st  century  technology  also plays two opposing roles that educators should be aware of. That is, while social network is a useful tool  to  encourage  interactions  between  teachers  and  learners  outside  the  classroom,  it  can  also

discourage   face-to-face   interactions   in   the   real   classroom.   Therefore,   the   encouragement   of autonomous learning among Asian learners cannot stop at the use of ICT only. Educators still need to work together to come up with the real way to motivate learners to express their opinion. This is to help create autonomous learning environment where teachers are merely moderator and not sole knowledge transmitters.

REFERENCES

กระทรวงศึกษาธิการ. (2551). หลักสูตรแกนกลางการศึกษาขั้นพื้นฐาน ุทธศักราช 2551. กรุงเทพมหานคร : ชุมนุมสหกรณการเกษตรแหงประเทศไทย.

สํานักวิชาการและมาตรฐานการศึกษา. (2552). หลักสูตรแกนกลางการศึกษาขั้นพื้นฐาน 2551 ฉบับภาษาอังกฤษ (English Version). [Online]. Available : http://www.curriculum51.net/viewpage.php?t_id=95.

A. Nadkarni & S. G. Hofmann.  (2012). “Why do people use Facebook ?,” Personality and Individual Differences, Elsevier. No. 52 : 243-249.

Beyer, B.K. (1987). Practical Strategies for the teaching of thinking. Boston : AllynandBacon. Flavell, J.H. (1976). “Metacognitive  aspects of problem solving,” in L. B. Resnick (Ed.) The nature of intelligence. 231-235. Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum Associatesm.

J. McTighe  and E. Seif. (2011).  “An Implementation  Framwork  to Support  21st  Century  Skills,”  in Chapter 7 Rethinking How Students learn. 240-268.  Bellance J. and Brandt R (eds.). Bangkok : Openworld.

Lafortune, L. & St Pierre, L. (1996). Affectivité et métacognition dans la classe.  Montréal : Logique. Leclercq  D.  &  Poumay,  M.  (2004).  Méthodes  de  Fromation  et  Théories  de  l’Apprentissage.

[Online]. Available : http://www.labset.net/~georges/formasup_metacognition_leclercq.pdf.

M.D.  Roblyer,  Michelle  McDaniel,  Marsena  Webb,  James  Herman,  James  Vince  Witty.  (2010). “Findings on Facebook in higher education : A comparison of college faculty and student uses and perceptions of social networking sites.” Internet and Higher Education. 13 : 134-140.

Marchal,  B.  (2010).  “Le  microblogue   ou  miniblogue,   outil  d’interaction   quasi  simultanée  entre l’apprenant et un intervenant-enseignant-tuteur,” Français dans le monde, juin. 369 : 31.

N. Dogruer, I. Menevis and R. Eyyam. (2011). “What is the motivation for using Facebook?,”  Science direct, Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences. 15 : 2642-2646.

Partnership  for  21st   Century  Skills.  (2009).  Framework  for  21st   century  lerning.  Tucson,  AZ : Author. Accessed at.

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