Metacognition and Critical Viewing Curricula: A Symbiosis

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


The exercise of one's metacognitive skills--skills involving awareness and control of one's own thought processes--is the central means by which one exercises his autonomy and embarks on a life of continual learning. The nurturing of each student's metacognitive skills is warranted as a central objective of education. However, while metacognition is an intuitively satisfying concept, it remains unclear. The problems inherent in the conceptualization of metacognition as a psychological construct will be addressed; a teleological definition will be presented as more appropriate and useful. A summary of the literature on cognitive psychology, with emphasis on the cognitive-behavioral perspective, will yield evidence which will be used to derive basic suggestions for ways in which educators can foster metacognition to facilitate transfer of thinking skills to new contexts. It will be shown that these efforts complement and mutually reinforce each other. Educational implications of this symbiosis will be explored. In identifying ways in which educators can exploit this symbiosis in order to maximize students' development of thinking skills, it will be shown that critical viewing instruction presents a context that is uniquely effective in this regard. Suggestions for fostering metacognitive skills and facilitating transfer of thinking skills using critical viewing instruction will be presented. Also, three commercially available critical viewing curriculum packages, which target mostly middle and high school students, will be assessed with regard to their utility in this endeavor.


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