EDPSY 526, Spring 2006
Metacognition

Short Thematic Papers

Directions and Scoring Criteria for Thematic Papers

Think about Thematic Papers as conversations with me about the readings. It's ok to ask questions, to wonder, to critique, to try out new ideas. You will take a position on a theme and support it with evidence.

To write one, you will need to think deeply about some aspects of the readings. Often the part that takes the longest is coming up with a theme and figuring out what you want to say about it. But doing this thinking and processing will make the information "stick" in ways that will help you recall it and, more importantly, use it in your own work. It doesn't matter if I agree with your position, as long as you support it with evidence, but I will "talk back" in my comments.

After reading, talking, and thinking about the readings in a set (see below), jot down some of the ideas you think are most important. Select one on which you want to take a position, and that can be used to relate several readings with your own ideas and experiences as a researcher and/or practitioner. For example, you might choose the theme "metacognition is inherently social" based on the readings and your emerging theories of metacognition. As you write, you would develop your theme while

  • using ideas from the readings critically to support or challenge your own position
    • at least one reading from each day in the set,
    • multiple readings from one or more days.
  • in papers #2 & #3 only, making a connection back to something you read earlier in the course.
  • [optionally] using your own prior knowledge of metacognitive experiences (your own, children you have known) to illustrate and support your position.
  • When you finish, give your paper a title that reflects your theme.

I will use these papers to assess your understanding of the readings and ideas and your ability to use them as you think about research and practice. However, STPs are not the traditional "summarize what I read" paper you may be used to. Instead of summarizing, you will take a position on the theme or big idea and compare it to the positions of the authors you read, as you interpret them. Some authors may support this idea or have theories that are consistent with your view while others challenge it – challenge them back! Using the readings critically means that you don't automatically accept the author's position, but instead examine the evidence presented and the assumptions made about families, peers, teachers, schools, and developing children.

Scoring Checklists for Thematic Papers

Checklist for Thematic Paper #1 (3-4 pages double-spaced, 1" margins, 12pt)

____ Theme clearly identified, title reflects theme

____ Readings are used critically to support or challenge the position taken (no summaries)

____ No major misunderstandings of readings

____ At least one reading from each day, multiple readings from at least one day.

Checklist for Thematic Paper #2 & #3 (3-4 pages double-spaced)

____ Theme clearly identified, title reflects theme

____ Readings are used critically to support or challenge the position taken (no summaries)

____ No major misunderstandings of readings

____ At least one reading from each day, multiple readings from at least one day.

____ Makes a connection to at least one reading from Jan. 7th or 12th.

Sample Thematic Papers

These are from EDPSY 528, Achievement Motivation, but they are essentially the same assignment. Use them to get an idea of what thematic papers look like in general.