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Overview:

We know that we are not the only faculty who become frustrated when students come to class mumbling "That reading was so confusing; I didn't get it" and then expect us to clarify everything. This is an all-too-familiar scenario, and this kind of negative discourse can hinder our students' motivation to read for our classes. In addition to creating unnecessary anxiety about what they will read in the future, this may also prohibit students from reading at the expected levels of interpretation, analysis, and application.

To minimize this attitude, we can help students become more aware of their struggles both while they are reading and after they have completed the reading by showing them how to self-monitor their comprehension. This self-awareness is called metacognition, or literally, thinking about thinking. Once students have achieved this awareness, faculty can provide them with strategies for overcoming those struggles as they read and learn.