Metacognitive Strategies for Vocabulary and Concept Learning: A Framework Using Content Area Textbooks

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Patricia Cordeiro


The goal of metacognitive approach to teaching vocabulary is to enable the learner to acquire, retain and expand word knowledge effectively and continuously throughout a lifetime. Strategies are developed for decontextualization and relational structuring of words and knowledge about words. Executive controls are developed for the purpose of managing, retaining and recalling word knowledge. Metacognitive strategies and critical thinking processes are defined, demonstrated and practiced in a highly interactive classroom. Chapter l provides an overview of the problem, a statement of the objectives, a synopsis of the research conducted and highlights the major findings. Chapter II examines the process of learning words. Emphasis is placed upon the role of prior knowledge in independent word learning, use of metacognitive components by "experts" and the role of individuals' schema for organizing, storing and accessing word knowledge. Chapter III highlights the significant research in the fields of teaching methods, cognitive theories and critical thinking applied to the discipline of vocabulary acquisition. Chapter IV describes in more detail the research base which most influenced this author. Sternberg's development of external cues for learning words in context and a group of researchers who advocate an independent work learning approach were most influential. Chapter V establishes the rationale, criteria, and features of the curriculum framework. It present examples of concept-based teaching which is overlaid and integrated into more conventional practices. The objective is a smooth transition into concept-based teaching and learning. Chapter VI presents a model of representative classroom exercises based on a twelfth grade economics text which illustrate the curriculum framework. Chapter VII discusses the need for further research into the development of pragmatic teaching strategies which relate to how people best learn words. Scientific studies of possible breakthrough teaching techniques, together with the potential for further development and possible testing of the model are described in the concluding section of this thesis.


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