Social Metacognition


Self-awareness and self-regulation

Principal Metaphors

As with Metacognition, Social Metacognition does not explicitly align with any specific theory of learning, which means that almost any theory of learning can be aligned with it. That said, its explicit association with Social Cognition suggests strongest affiliations with the following:
  • Knowledge is … information
  • Knowing is … using information
  • Learner is … a computer
  • Learning is … inputting (and associated computer-based notions, such as processing, storing, and retrieving)
  • Teaching is … transmission (of information)




Articulated as an elaboration of Metacognition in response to the criticism that theorists had been inattentive to situational norms and cultural expectations, Social Metacognition draws on Social Cognition to incorporate competencies around making sense of others’ cognition, distinguishing cultural influences in/on one’s thinking, assessing one’s self-concept against situational norms, monitoring and affecting social interactions/relationships, and critically assessing stereotypes and other products of group ideologies.


Like Metacognition, Social Metacognition is inattentive to the natures of learning and cognition, thus offering a theory that can be pasted onto naïve and trivial theories of learning.

Authors and/or Prominent Influences


Status as a Theory of Learning

Social Metacognition is not a theory of learning.

Status as a Theory of Teaching

As with Metacognition, many programs, strategies, and evaluations have been produced to support learners and teachers in developing social metacognitive skills.

Status as a Scientific Theory

Like Metacognition, Social Metacognition does not include consideration or critique of its own assumptions about the nature of learning or the metaphors used to characterize learning. Coupled to limited empirical evidence, this lack of critical self-interrogation means that Social Metacognition falls short on meeting our requirements as a scientific theory.

Map Location

Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2020). “Social Metacognition” in Discourses on Learning in Education.

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