Developing Metacognitive Instructors through a Guided Journal


  • Lauren Scharff U. S. Air Force Academy
  • John Draeger SUNY Buffalo State
  • Sarah Robinson U. S. Air Force Academy
  • Leli Pedro University of Colorado - Denver
  • Charity Peak Association of College and University Educators



metacognition, metacognitive instruction, metacognitive teaching, faculty development


Metacognitive instructors incorporate awareness and timely self-regulation in their teaching practice to support their current students’ learning. This exploratory study, using mixed methods, gathered empirical data to extend the work on student metacognition by documenting teacher experiences with metacognitive instruction, the impact of instructor use of a guided journal on the development of metacognitive instruction practices, and students’ perceptions of instructor responsiveness to their learning and engagement. Journal Intervention (N = 40) and Control (N = 33) instructors from five institutions and their students (N = 796) responded to multiple questionnaires throughout a semester. Data revealed significantly more baseline familiarity with and engagement in reflective teaching than metacognitive instruction for both groups. Within the Intervention group, qualitative data consistently suggested a positive impact from engagement with the journal, especially with respect to an increased focus on learning objectives and student engagement (rather than on content coverage) in pre-lesson planning, and on being aware of how students were achieving the learning objectives. Significant positive correlations were found between instructor use of the journal and student ratings of instructor responsiveness to their learning and engagement, and instructor use of effective instructional practices. Although instructors were enthusiastic overall about using the journal and incorporating metacognitive instruction, they did report barriers including time, existing habits, and uncertainty about alternate instructional practices. Based on our findings, we share strategies for using our journal prompts as a tool to facilitate faculty development of metacognitive instruction.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biographies

Lauren Scharff, U. S. Air Force Academy

Lauren Scharff is the director of scholarship of teaching and learning and a professor of behavioral sciences at the U. S. Air Force Academy (USA).

John Draeger, SUNY Buffalo State

John Draeger is the director of the teaching and learning center and a professor of philosophy at SUNY Buffalo State (USA).

Sarah Robinson, U. S. Air Force Academy

Sarah Robinson is an associate professor of geosciences at the U. S. Air Force Academy (USA).

Leli Pedro, University of Colorado - Denver

Leli Pedro is an emeritus professor of nursing for the University of Colorado – Denver (USA).

Charity Peak, Association of College and University Educators

Charity Peak is the regional director of academic programs, Association of College and University Educators (USA).


Ambrose, Susan A., Marsha Lovett, Michael W. Bridges, Michele DiPietro, and Marie K. Norman. 2010. How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Bain, John D., Colleen Mills, Roy Ballantyne, and Jan Packer. 2002. “Developing Reflection on Practice Through Journal Writing: Impacts of Variations in the Focus and Level of Feedback,” Teachers and Teaching 8, no. 2: 171–96.

Bain, Ken. 2004. What the Best College Teachers Do. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Boyd, Josh, and Steve Boyd. 2005. “Reflect and Improve: Instructional Development Through a Teaching Journal.” College Teaching 53, no. 3: 110–14.

Brookfield, Stephen D. 2017. Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Case, Jennifer, and Richard Gunstone. 2002. “Metacognitive Development as a Shift in Approach to Learning: An In-Depth Study.” Studies in Higher Education 2, no. 4: 459–70.

Dabarera, Carol, Willy A. Renandya, and Lawrence Jun Zhang. 2014. “The Impact of Metacognitive Scaffolding and Monitoring on Reading Comprehension.” System 42: 462–73.

Davis, James, and Bridget Arend. 2013. Facilitating Seven Ways of Learning. Stylus, Sterling, VA.

Dunlosky, John, and Keith W. Thiede. 2013. “Four Cornerstones of Calibration Research: Why Understanding Students' Judgments Can Improve Their Achievement.” Learning and Instruction 24: 58–61.

Flavell, John H. 1976. “Metacognitive Aspects of Problem Solving.” In The Nature of Intelligence, edited by Lawrence B. Resnick, 231–36. Hillsdale, NJ: Earlbaum.

Garrison, D. Randy, Terry Anderson, and Walter Archer. 2000. “Critical Inquiry in a Text-Based Environment: Computer Conferencing in Higher Education.” The Internet and Higher Education, 2, no. 2–3: 87–105.

Good, Jennifer M., and Patricia A. Whang. 2002. “Encouraging Reflection in Pre-Service Teachers Through Response Journals.” Teacher Educator 37: 254–67.

Grossman, Robert. 2008. “Structures for Facilitating Student Reflection.” College Teaching, 57: 15–22.

Hogan, Michael J., Christopher P. Dwyer, Owen M. Harney, Chris Noone, and Ronan J. Conway. 2015. “Metacognitive Skill Development and Applied Systems Science: A Framework of Metacognitive Skills, Self-Regulatory Functions and Real-World Applications.” In Metacognition: Fundamentals, Applications, and Trends. 75–106. Springer International Publishing.

Huber, Mary. T., and Pat Hutchings. 2004. “Integrative Learning: Mapping the Terrain.” The Academy in Transition. Association of American Colleges and Universities. Retrieved from

Hutchings, Pat, and Lee S. Shulman. 1999. “The Scholarship of Teaching: New Elaborations, New Developments.” Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning 3 no. 5: 10–15.

Isaacson, Randy M., and Frank Fujita. 2006. “Metacognitive Knowledge Monitoring and Self-Regulated Learning: Academic Success and Reflections on Learning.” Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and learning 6, no. 1: 39–55. Retrieved from

Kolb, David A. 2014. Experiential Learning: Experience as The Source of Learning and Development (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Korthagen, Fred, and Angelo Vasalos. 2006. “Levels in Reflection: Core Reflection as a Means to Enhance Professional Growth.” Teachers and Teaching 11: 47–71.

Kreber, Carolin. 2002. “Teaching Excellence, Teaching Expertise, and the Scholarship of Teaching.” Innovative Higher Education 27, no. 1: 5–23.

Lee, Icy. 2008. “Fostering Preservice Reflection Through Response Journal.” Teacher Education Quarterly 35 (1): 117–39. Retrieved from

Leopold, Claudia, and Detlev Leutner. 2015. “Improving Students’ Science Text Comprehension Through Metacognitive Self-Regulation When Applying Learning Strategies.” Metacognition and learning 10, no. 3: 313–46.

McAlpine, Lynn, Cynthia Weston, Catherine Beauchamp, C. Wiseman, and Jacinthe Beauchamp. 1999. “Building a Metacognitive Model of Reflection.” Higher Education 37, no. 2: 105–31.

Mynlieff, Michelle, Anita L. Manogaran, Martin St. Maurice, and Thomas J. Eddinger. 2014. “Writing Assignments with a Metacognitive Component Enhance Learning in a Large Introductory Biology Course.” CBE-Life Sciences Education 13, no. 2: 311–21.

National Research Council (NRC). 2000. How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Negretti, Raffaella. 2012. “Metacognition in Student Academic Writing: A Longitudinal Study of Metacognitive Awareness and Its Relation to Task Perception, Self-Regulation, and Evaluation Of Performance.” Written Communication 29, no. 2: 142–79., Parker. 2007. The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Richlin, Laurie. 2001. “Scholarly Teaching and The Scholarship of Teaching.” New Directions for Teaching and learning 86: 57–68.

Risko, Victoria J., Kathleen Roskos, and Carol Vukelich. 2002. “Prospective Teachers’ Reflection: Strategies, Qualities, and Perceptions in Learning to Teach Reading.” Reading Research and Instruction 41: 149–76.

Scharff, Lauren, and John Draeger. 2015. “Thinking about Metacognitive Instruction.” The National Teaching and learning Forum 24, no. 5 (September): 4–6. Retrieved from

Schön, Donald A. 1987. Educating the Reflective Practitioner: Toward a New Design for Teaching and learning in The Professions. Jossey-Bass.

Schraw, Gregory. 1998. “Promoting General Metacognitive Awareness.” Instructional Science 26, no. 1–2: 113–25.

Tanner, Kimberly D. 2012. “Promoting Student Metacognition.” CBE-Life Sciences Education 11, no. 2: 113–20.

Thiede, Keith W., Mary C. Anderson, and David Therriault. 2003. “Accuracy of Metacognitive Monitoring Affects Learning of Texts.” Journal of Educational Psychology 95, no. 1: 66–73.

Ward, John R., and Suzanne S. McCotter. 2004. “Reflection as a Visible Outcome for Preservice Teachers.” Teaching and Teacher Education 20: 243–57.




How to Cite

Scharff, Lauren, John Draeger, Sarah Robinson, Leli Pedro, and Charity Peak. 2021. “Developing Metacognitive Instructors through a Guided Journal”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 9 (2).