The Key Role of Metacognition

Training successful community interpreters:  The key role of metacognition as a basis for developing expertise
by Elena Aguirre Fernandez-Bravo

Developing Expertise

Expertise comes from

  • Practice
  • instinct
  • reflective practice (self-regularatory or metacognition)

Metacognition is one’s knowledge of the learning process with following components

  • Metamemory – my own knowledge of how memory works
  • metaunderstanding – knowledge of the extent of comprehension
  • metastrategic knowledge – awareness of strategies in particular situations

This can be trained and developed in our classroom.

Metacognition and Problem Solving

Important for interpreters because interpreting involves managing the basic metacognitive problem-solving skills such as a problem-solving model from Stramberg (1981) listed below:

  1. problem identification
  2. process selection
  3. representation selection
  4. strategy selection
  5. processing allocation
  6. solution monitoring
  7. sensitivity to feedback
  8. translation of feedback into action plan
  9. implementation of the action plan

All of these steps are undertaken within the interpreting process and the interpreter needs to be aware of how these cognitive processes work.

Community interpreter abilities:

  • High perception ability
  • capable of abstraction and information segmentation
  • Analyze and assess abilities
  • Be responsible and accountable

All of these are metacognitive skill sets.

Characteristics of metacognitive learners

  • are aware of their responsibility
  • are guided by intrinsic motivation
  • understand that rote learning is not enought
  • Are capable of self-observation and self-monitoring
  • Learn from their classmates’ experience
  • are effective and realistic planners
  • are interested in their evolution
  • engage in dialogue with the trainer
  • understand the importance of feedback and integrate it
  • Question why they are taught

Experimental Research

Attempting to measure the students’ metacognitive competence and measure their progress

Classroom Practice:  Who can we do?

Transmission to Transformative Model of Education
Shift from transmission model to transformative model of education

  • Empower the student
  • Provide them tools and resources
  • transform training to a source of self-confidence leading to autonomy

Techniques from Madrid

  • Self-evaluation forms
    • Homework exercises to think about classroom exercises
    • Identify problems and strategies, designed for self-reflection
    • Important to explain to the student why they are doing it
  • Peer Assessment
    • Classroom activity
    • Monitor classmate’s performance
    • with or without specific instructions
    • When simulation is over, they are asked to assess their classmates providing arguments for their opinion
    • Stimulates discussion among students and teacher which leads to critical thinking
  • Guided video activities
    • Record ourselves playing different roles with a ‘hidden agenda’ and make questions so that the student has to think about specific issues.
      • Look at issues of using first and third person
      • Identify what type of role the interpreter played in the situation

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