Category Archives: Module 3D : Reflective Teaching & Metacognition

Think About Thinking for Reflective Practice

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At first glance, metacognition is a very intimidating word. It’s a moment wherein one has to pause and think. But then because of its unfathomable meaning, one has to “Wait, I really need to research on this.”  Why does a teacher have to possess critical thinking skills? What does reflective practice have to do with critical thinking or metacognition?

In educational psychology, metacognition and reflection refer to the process of managing (monitoring, regulating and controlling) one’s thinking about his/her thinking (D. Daniels, 2002). But for ordinary people metacognition as thinking about thinking sounds absurd. Why should I think more of what I am thinking? Critical thinking is defined as “the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.” While I was still in school as a student, I got used to hearing answers like -“I will be just a teacher.” to a “what do you want to be when you grow up? question. I really didn’t question that description but I knew that’s how it is. It never came into my young mind that I should have thought about why did most students think teaching as “just”. Was it because there were lots of students pursuing teachers that they thought it’s an easy course to take? Or maybe because students weren’t oriented of what should be the qualities of incoming teacher-to be? I was schooled in what I consider a teacher-oriented classroom wherein questioning a teacher’s explanation would be misconstrued as being “pilosopo” or being told to “use your common sense” which created embarrassment. In order for critical thinking to survive, there should be a willing environment to accommodate curiosity and out-of-the blue questions because it is when that new idea comes up. When at home a child is reprimanded when making explanations regarding a compromising situation, he/she will think that explanation isn’t an option when something happens. In our culture, answering back isn’t considered a nice gesture because it is thought of as a sign of being disrespectful. Ronald C. Jones (2013) asserts that one of the factors that will help students to think critically is when teachers don’t respond to students in an authoritative way that signifies the end of a discussion because the goal should be to keep the discussion going. Teachers has to make sure that students won’t assume that the final word belongs to a teacher.

Streb and Barbour (2003) suggested five essential steps in critical thinking that should be taught and encouraged by teachers – the CLUES Model, to help students not only academically but in their every day living. They are :

“Consider the source and the audience

Lay out the argument and the underlying values and assumptions

Uncover the evidence

Evaluate the conclusion

Sort out the political implications”

In view of this, I really wish that I was in a classroom when critical thinking was encouraged from the start and wasn’t suppressed due to cultural connotation. I can say that my fraternity-sorority affiliation during my college days did a mini-training session when the “masters” encouraged me to reason out when confronted with a situation and not just to say “yes” to all the tasks they told me to do so. I was tasked to go to the graduate library for a research and present to them my findings. I know that fraternity or sorority is viewed with indifference but making judgement so fast doesn’t merit critical thinking. I cannot say that all fraternities/sororities encourage critical thinking or provide self-confidence but I am sure I belong to one that is.


CLUES to Critical Thinking About Politics :Adapted from Christine Barbour and Matthew Streb, eds., Clued In to Politics: A Critical Thinking Reader in American Government. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003.

The Instructor’s Challenge: Moving Students beyond Opinions to Critical Thinking – See more at:

Developed by Linda Darling-Hammond, Kim Austin, Melissa Cheung, and Daisy Martin With Contributions From Brigid Barron, Annmarie Palincsar, and Lee Shulman: Thinking About Thinking: Metacognition.Section 9 :