Am I thinking aloud?

pigs think

Self-monitoring is a good thing it raises our level of awareness about what we eat, how we cross the street, and how we learn.  How many times have we taken the time to say, “This isn’t going very well”,  when engaged in a task instead of, “I just need to get this done!” When we self-monitor we remain in the moment, evaluating our current performance against our hope of an expected outcome.  The common core is asking all of us in the teaching profession to think about what we are doing and how the students are responding while we are modeling a specific skill or strategy.

Self-regulation of modeling encompasses the multidimensional processes of both the teacher and the learner to set goals, select strategies, assess levels of motivation, seek help when appropriate, monitor progress, and reflect on performance and progress. In addition to classroom instruction, more recently modeling has been extended to areas of learning such teacher professional development, hypermedia instruction, and teaching preparation programs, which has served as the foundation for countless scholarly investigations.

When we ask students to observe, we are asking them to pay attention to the strategies we are using while we are completing a task. If our students are not paying attention we cannot say that we effectively “modeled”, in fact, all we did was demonstrate.  There is enough evidence that children will attempt to do what we do, and when we use specific strategies we should be explicit about what we are actually doing so they know why and how. Thinking aloud is critical to modeling how we self monitor our performance. For example, how do we read an informational text?  If we want our students to self-monitor then we need to think aloud as we read texts and model how it is actually done –


This student has observed his teacher, parent, sister, or baby-sitter practice this type of exercise many times, not just once or twice.  He might have seen his mother in the kitchen self-monitoring as she attempts a new recipe, speaking to herself saying, “Did I add the salt? Wait, I better check before I move on to adding the eggs! ”

In the classroom, he might hear the words of his teacher as he/she reads a complex text questioning whether he/she (the teacher) actually understands what was just read.

Thinking aloud using explicit details is the way we should model, perhaps if we did it more we could teach our children how to process information and take the time to think.  This type of action can slow our students down and from rushing through their own thoughts to just “get it done!”

think aloud

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