Prospective Science Teachers’ Metacognitive Awareness
The aim of the study is to examine prospective science teachers’ metacognitive awareness and to examine whether there is a significant difference between prospective science teachers’ with to their gender, academic achievement, grade and domain.
Metacognition term was used as first “metamemory” by Flavell (1976). Flavell (1976) defined metacognition as awareness, control and regulate of one’s own cognition and cognitive processes. Metacognition is subdivided into two main components, which are knowledge of cognition and regulation of cognition. Knowledge of cognition means to be what we know about our own cognition. Regulation of cognition includes activities that help students control their learning (Schraw, 1998). Regulation of cognition has three components. These are planning, monitoring and evaluation (Schraw & Moshman, 1995). Science education literature suggested that metacognition is important to improve the science learning in classrooms (Baird & White, 1996; Beeth, 1998). The current literature suggests that students with higher metacognitive awareness are more strategic and successful in cognitive enterprise. According to Schraw and Dennison (1994), this can be attributed to the fact that metacognitive awareness helps students plan, monitor and evaluate their learning, increasing their performance directly. Swanson (1990) stated that metacognition acts as compensation for cognitive performance, improving the use of strategy. Moreover, there are also studies investigating the change of metacognitive awareness in accordance with gender factor. For instance, Miller (2000) found out that girls have more metacognitive skills in Mathematics compared to boys.
The research question in this study is to find an answer is given below:
Is there a relationship between students' metacognitive awareness and their gender, academic achievement, grade and domain?
The participants included 330 prospective teachers who were enrolled in the Department of Biology, Chemistry and Physics Education in a state university in Turkey. Convenience sampling method was used and the study was carried out in the university where the researchers worked. Correlational research method was used in this study. This study investigated metacognitive awareness and its relationship with the variables of academic achievement, gender, grade and domain. Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI) developed by Schraw and Dennison (1994) and adapted into Turkish by Abacı, Çetin and Akın (2007), was used to attain the students' metacognitive awareness scores, one of the variables in the study. This inventory is a 5-point Likert scale. The inventory consists of two components, the knowledge of cognition and the regulation of cognition. The reliability coefficient (α) is .95. The other variable investigated in this study is academic achievement. Students' general academic scores were used to determine their academic achievement. The other variable investigated is the domain (biology, chemistry and physic).
Prospective teachers’ metacognitive awareness mean score was obtained from MAI (M= 190,68). According to our findings there is no significant difference between male and female prospective teachers’ with respect to their metacognitive awareness. Additionally, there is significant difference is found with respect to prospective teachers’ grade and no significant difference is found with respect to the types of domain they have studied. Our other variable is academic achievement. The grades necessary to determine the academic achievement will be provided when the first semester of the education year is over. Analysis will be done in a month because the data on academic achievement is not available now.
Metacognitive awareness is an essential property that teachers must have. According to our results, prospective teachers are not sufficient in this view. In course training, prospective teachers should be supported and encouraged to promote the metacognitive awareness. And also there is a need for exploring cause and effect between metacognitive awareness, academic achievement. Qualitative research is also needed to examine age, gender and other psychological factors affecting metacognition.
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Flavell, J. H. (1976). Metacognitive aspects of problem solving. In: The Nature of Intelligence. Resnick, Lauren B (ed.) p.233 Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
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