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Speech in the Schools

Metacognition and Success Mindset

Published July 30, 2015 5:03 PM by Teresa Roberts

How we ask questions and the types of questions that we ask our clients may encourage success-based thinking patterns. Forward-thinking and future-based questions may help clients envision themselves meeting their goals. Being able to see oneself in the future is a metacognitive skill.

As clinicians, we believe that our clients are able to make gains. We have faith that they will make progress toward their communication goals. We use encouragement, praise, and positive feedback with scaffolded activities. Adding metacognitive questions may foster a success-based mindset.

David Rock’s book “Quiet Leadership” presents metacognitive strategies to elicit individualized thought patterns for behavioral change. He outlines question types to prompt a person to self-reflect and begin the internal process of problem solving. The underlying premise is that people have the capacity to generate their own solutions.

A fundamental aspect of the therapeutic process is behavioral change. Direct instruction is typically needed at the beginning stages of acquiring a new skill, however, we could quickly move toward metacognitive strategies, as clients are able to practice semi-independently. We use the term “generalization” to represent a client using a new skill across environments and communicative contexts. With generalization, the focus is on tracking the demonstration of the behavior. We could also consider the term “internalization”, which includes the ability to integrate a pattern into one’s life (establish a rapid neurocognitive pathway).

SEE ALSO: Thinking Language Environment 

The following client questions are inspired by David Rock’s solutions-focused framework to allow clients to reflect on how they can help themselve

Articulation and Speech Sound Goals

  • What do you need to do next time to make your sound?
  • How can you help your tongue find the right place for your sound?
  • How can you help your ears recognize when you’ve made the right sound?
  • What activities do you think will help you practice your sound?
  • What words do you think you want to practice next?
  • What sounds do you want to learn next?

Language and Learning Goals

  • What can help you learn new words?
  • What do you need to do to help yourself remember new words?
  • How can you practice making longer sentences?
  • What activities do you think will help you organize your ideas?
  • How can you come up with your own topic sentence?
  • What do you think will make it easier next time? What kinds of things do you want to learn next?

Even early learners can begin the metacognitive process through questions using self-reflective preferences, “What did you like about the activity?”, and future-based thinking, “What do you think would make it easier (or more fun) next time?”

By adding more questions to encourage clients to consider their own learning, clients may be able to see that we have confidence in their ideas for growth, and their ultimate success in therapy.

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About this Blog


    Speech in the Schools
    Occupation: School-based speech-language pathologists
    Setting: Traditional and specialized K-12 classrooms
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