Dr. Lynn Meltzer on the Importance of Metacognition

Academic performance across the grades depends increasingly on students’ ability to plan their time, organize and prioritize ideas, shift approaches flexibly, and monitor their progress. These executive function processes affect students’ performance in most academic areas that involve conceptual reasoning, in particular, reading comprehension, writing, and math problem-solving. Nevertheless, classroom instruction does not typically include explicit strategies for teaching executive function systematically or for helping students to understand how they think and learn, a process that is referred to as “metacognitive awareness.”

Successful education in 21st century classrooms requires an ongoing discovery of strategies that promote executive function and flexible thinking in students across the grades and content areas. Cognitive flexibility is particularly essential as it allows students to learn to shift mindsets and think flexibly as they approach their academic work. There are many amazing researchers who have documented the importance of executive function and metacognition; however, what is needed now are practical approaches for promoting metacognitive awareness, flexible thinking, and executive function strategies as part of the classroom curriculum across the grades.

On October 21st I will be delivering the keynote at the 7th Annual Executive Function Conference, where I will discuss current research on metacognition as well as practical approaches to promoting metacognition in the classroom. The goal of this talk is to link metacognition to the cyclical relationship that connects students’ use of executive function strategies with their self-concept, effort, and persistence—all attributes that build resilience and life success.

Please join us for an amazing conference, and as always, stay tuned for upcoming ResearchILD special events.


Lynn Meltzer, Ph.D., President & Director of Research