Metacognition and Transparency in Teaching

Thinking about thinking, or metacognition, is important as one tries to achieve more transparency in teaching. In a recent Faculty Focus article, Amy B. Mulnix, Ph.D., director of the Faculty Center at Franklin and Marshall College, shares a story about how metacognition and transparency improved her performance in the classroom. Mulnix asked first-year students in a new class how their reading homework connected to ideas in previous chapters of the text. She did not get many responses. Mulnix then thought about what her own approach would be to the question and immediately devised a new system with more visual representation to spur discussion. She also broke students into small groups to discuss the material and report back to the larger group. “(A) challenge in achieving transparency is developing a deep awareness of our own processes. Only then can we explicitly teach those thinking processes,” Mulnix said.