Paradox of Difference: Teaching Metacognition to Adolescents

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Lawrence Blum


As teachers we face the awesome responsibility of providing our students with the skills necessary for survival and success in our world of constant change. Hopefully, they will use their skills toward the betterment of society as well as for self-fulfillment. Adolescents are confronted with the challenge of exploring the world around them as they develop independence in their decision making. Providing opportunities in the classroom that have students test their decision making skills, examine the possible consequences of those decisions, and explore options and alternatives to the expected outcomes can make our students more critical and creative decision makers and problem solvers. This thesis explores the use of metacognition in the lives of young adolescents, fifteen and sixteen years of age. In order to develop basic thinking skills, students must direct their attention to the processes and products of their thinking. Focusing on the use of language, particularly teens' use of stereotypes when in relationships with others, this thesis has students become aware of the creation and use of "loaded language," and how its use is indicative of faulty reasoning and the behavior of a non-critical thinker. By exercising metacognition students are instilled with a more "mindful" attitude of life that can develop and transform their internal life and their interpretation of who and what they are and what they may become. This thesis will define the terms pertinent to the topic of metacognition, provide a rationale for teaching metacognition to teenagers, and present the responsibilities of the professional educator in introducing and enhancing the students' skills in metacognition. Also, this thesis will provide exemplary activities that demonstrate these opportunities as integrated within a sophomore English curriculum.


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