Explicit teaching of metastrategic knowledge: Definitions, students’ learning, and teachers’ professional development

Anat Zohar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This chapter describes a comprehensive research program addressing metastrategic knowledge (MSK), i.e., general conscious awareness of the thinking strategies applied during instruction and knowledge of their general characteristics. A series of three consecutive studies investigated the effects of explicit instruction of MSK. The findings of all three studies showed dramatic developments in students’ strategic and metastrategic thinking following instruction. The effect of the treatment was preserved in delayed transfer tests. Explicit teaching of MSK had a particularly strong effect on low-achieving students. The findings show the significance of explicit teaching of MSK for teaching higher-order thinking to all students and in particular to LA students. The final sections of this chapter report two additional studies concerning teachers’ knowledge in the context of teaching MSK. These studies showed that teachers’ initial metastrategic knowledge was lacking and insufficient for teaching purposes. Following professional development, considerable progress was made in teachers’ knowledge of MSK and in their pedagogical abilities to use this knowledge in the classroom. These findings show that a professional development course can indeed help teachers make considerable progress with respect to the knowledge that is required for applying MSK in the classroom. MSK, which is the metacognitive component applied in this chapter, consists of knowledge about tasks (referring to task characteristics that call for the use of a strategy or “when” to use a strategy) and knowledge about strategies (referring to “why” and “how” to use a strategy).

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationMetacognition in science education
Subtitle of host publicationtrends in current research
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages27
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameContemporary Trends and Issues in Science Education
ISSN (Print)1878-0482
ISSN (Electronic)1878-0784

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Science +Business Media B.V. 2012.


  • Classroom Observation
  • Explicit Teaching
  • Pedagogical Content Knowledge
  • Pedagogical Knowledge
  • Thinking Skill


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