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Exploring the use of metacognitive strategies in college teaching: An instrumental multiple case study

Grace-Anne Teresa Dolak, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this instrumental multiple case study was to provide an in-depth description and analysis of how university professors used their metacognitive strategies while teaching. Since learning at the post-secondary level should involve the processing of content so that meaning is constructed, reflected upon, and critically evaluated, university professors could assist students in their learning by using the metacognitive strategies that have assisted them in the building of their knowledge base while they are teaching. Metacognitive strategies were defined as those strategies that enable one to understand, reflect upon, and evaluate learning. The issue I addressed in this study was that we know little from the literature about the scope and practices of university professors as they attempt to use appropriate metacognitive strategies while teaching. For these reasons, I proposed to study the use of metacognitive strategies of three university professors at a small private Midwestern university to explore how these university professors used metacognitive strategies while teaching. Qualitative data was collected through observations and interviews. The data yielded in-depth descriptions of each case and across cases, an analysis of the issues, and overall assertions. The research findings were validated by member checks, peer reviews, an audit trail, and triangulation. This study concluded that professors teach as they have learned and include specific metacognitive strategies that assisted them in their learning as they teach. Instructional practices of the professors reflected their metacognitive strategies. However, these professors did not seize the opportunities to explicitly use their metacognitive strategies while teaching or with student-involved activities. The level to which these professors were able to theorize about their own metacognitive strategies appeared to have implication for the level of use that does occur in all teaching and learning events. The revelations from this multiple case study cannot be generalized to other professors' use of metacognitive strategies while teaching although categorical generalizability would be possible. ^

Subject Area

Education, Adult and Continuing|Education, Curriculum and Instruction|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Dolak, Grace-Anne Teresa, "Exploring the use of metacognitive strategies in college teaching: An instrumental multiple case study" (2000). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9962056.