The Process of Metacognitive Professional Learning

We know that traditional direct instruction models of training and professional development can be ineffective; new information is delivered and everyone crosses his or her fingers in hope that practice changes. What’s missing in this approach is supported application of practice where professionals have an opportunity to implement new learning in an authentic setting where the facilitator/leader gradually releases task responsibility to the learner.

At inFOCUS, our professional learning provides this gradual and guided support to promote deeper understanding and successful change. As shown in our Process of Metacognitive Professional Learning model, the essential components within professional learning become more of a menu than a checklist, allowing professional learning to be adjusted based on how to build metacognition for every learner.

We believe that a fluid and flexible model more effectively supports professional learning and allows for customization and differentiation to meet the individual needs of staff.

The Process of Metacognitive Professional Learning

Created by Heather Donnelly & Dr. Jeffrey Linn, 2013

  • At the center of our model is what we are striving for — critical thinking about practice — and we can promote critical thinking through a variety of processes, such as coaching and modeling. Individuals gradually engage in these processes based on their depth of understanding and effective practice, knowing that some professionals will need more support and some less.
  • The outer circle represents what drives and shapes our model: formative assessment and metacognition. Through continuous, non-evaluative assessment of professional practice we identify strengths and opportunities for growth and provide customized support for individuals and systems based on our assessment.

All of our professional learning opportunities are based on consistent formative assessment of practice because we believe that learning is continuous. Metacognitive professionals continuously strive to improve their performance and practice. Hence, to support continuous learning, non-evaluative forms of assessment must exist so staff feel genuinely supported in becoming independent thinkers and learners.