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Metacognition and Doctoral Learners

Metacognition is a term that describes the process o thinking about thinking. This is the process when an individual examines the processing of his or her brain. Usually, teachers guide their students by increasing their understanding on how they process information in order to become strategic thinkers. The thinking process can be examined through synthesizing, questioning and visualizing information. This paper will discuss the importance of metacognition for the doctoral learners.

Critical and creative thinking are essential aspects for a doctoral learner especially when working through the process of dissertation (Chafee, 2009).  In addition, metacognition skills are important to the learner. Metacognition skills are essential as they enable the doctoral learner to examine his or her perspectives and determine the reason for making certain assumptions.

Understanding the metacognition process is important for the doctoral learners as it enables them to improve their reflection skills. Doctoral learning involves the ability to analyze and evaluate situations, personal encounters and responses. In this regard, doctoral learners are expected to reflect on their work in relation to their profession. Successful doctoral learners use at least three types of reflection. They include reflection in action, reflection from action and reflection on action. Using reflective skills in these areas is crucial for the doctoral learner especially in the dissertation program (Schon, 1983).

Questioning skills, part of the metacognition process, are also crucial to the learning program of the doctoral learners. We know that using questions ensures a better critical thinking (Tinkler, 2004). Doctoral learners should have the ability to question their writings, readings as well as what they think. In addition, they should know how to use questions to pose questions to others. Usually, questions are essential during interactions and discussions with classmates (Tinkler, 2004).

It is with no doubt that critical and creative thinking is crucial for the doctoral learner. To become a successful doctoral learner, one must develop skills to understand, reflect and questions his or her own work or thinking. These skills are important in professional life.


Chaffee, J. (2009). Thinking critically. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Schon, D. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books.

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