Undergraduate chemistry instructors’ perspectives on their students’ metacognitive development
Metacognition is an important skill for undergraduate chemistry students, but there has been scant research investigating chemistry instructors’ perspectives of metacognition and the development of their students’ metacognition. Since undergraduate instructors have a wide influence over what happens in their courses, it is crucial to investigate their understanding of metacognition, and discern whether they value metacognitive development for their students. This qualitative interview study explored the perspectives of seventeen chemistry instructors who taught chemistry at the college level from six different institutions across Colorado. The interviews were coded deductively according to Zohar and Dori's definitions of metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive skills, and inductively for themes through reflexive thematic analysis. These interviews provided a window into these instructors’ personal pedagogical content knowledge (pPCK) and how it influenced their enacted pedagogical content knowledge (ePCK) in relation to their students’ metacognition development. The results include a discussion of how these chemistry instructors valued their students’ metacognition, how they currently develop their students’ metacognition, and their suggestions for improving the development of metacognition in undergraduate chemistry education. Based on the results of this analysis, activities that indirectly target students’ metacognition may be more easily adopted by instructors, and more explicit awareness may be beneficial.