Is it important for your student to know that they have learned?

Is it important for your student to know that they have learned?

Diary submitted by Marianna O.

As an EFL teacher, I noticed that it was very easy to introduce students to the learning objectives. The reading material is titled with the subject of the session and I have found that asking students to read this at the start of the lesson is a good way to ensure that they know what they are supposed to be learning. This also presents an opportunity for me to assess what they may or may not already know about the subject.
Towards the end of the lesson, I like to ask students to pick out some sentences from the text that are associated to the learning objective to test their understanding. For example, for a lesson titled: past simple vs past perfect, I will ask students to show me that they can differentiate between the two tenses by picking out the sentences that contain the past simple and then the ones that contain the past perfect. I then ask students to use the grammar point and vocabulary associated to the lesson objective to make their own sentences. This shows me that my students have learned but I am not sure if they know this and if they even need to know.

The term metacognition, as defined by American developmental psychologist John H. Flavell, means knowledge about cognition and control of cognition. For example, a student that notices that they are having more trouble learning vocabulary than grammar, or that decides to double-check the -ed sound rule before accepting it as fact is engaging in metacognition. Flavell says that learners who use metacognitive self-assessment are aware of their abilities and perform better than those who are unaware (Flavell, 1976). This is because being aware of their weaknesses allows learners to dedicate more time to strengthening these areas. If my students do not feel that they have learned, they can ask me to explain again or can work on the topic at home.

A study conducted by Mehmet Altan Kurnaz and Sabiha Odabasi Cimer identified that, after self-testing, getting help from others was the second most frequently mentioned strategy used by students to assess their own learning (Kurnaz & Cimer, 2010). As part of this strategy, students described asking others to ask them questions or listen to them explain (Kurnaz & Cimer, 2010). Kurnaz and Cimer identified that students felt comfortable if others they trusted approved that they had learned (Kurnaz & Cimer, 2010). It is clear to me that in asking my students questions to ensure that they have learned, I can also make them aware of this by telling them or signalling that they have answered correctly.


Flavell, J. H., 1976. Metacognitive aspects of problem solving. In: L. Resnick, ed. The Nature of Intelligence. s.l.:John Wiley & Sons Inc, pp. 231-236.

Kurnaz, M. & Cimer, S., 2010. How do students know that they have learned? An investigation of students’ strategies. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 2, pp. 3666, 3668-3669.

Is it important for your student to know that they have learned? TEFL Trainer

Add Comment

  Add me to Skype - TEFL Trainer

I really enjoyed the blend of online training with teaching in Madrid, giving me a chance to implement what I had learnt. The reflective diaries were also really helpful to delve deeper into the theory behind teaching.

Read more here

Beth M. Madrid

The TEFL trainer is a great course and provided me with a wonderful experience teaching in Madrid.

Read more here

Emma S. Madrid

This work experience of teaching was really perfect for me. I had no experience in that sector but the staff helped me a lot.

Read more here

Clémence J. Madrid

During my TEFL training in Valencia I gained a lot of new knowledge and fantastic experiences.

The TEFL trainer programme covers all neccessary topics to make you a confident and well prepared teacher.

Read more here

Denise P. Valencia

Upon arrival at the language school in Madrid, the head teacher quickly introduced me to their style of teaching and materials used, and by the second day, I was taking my own classes.

Read more here

Marianne O. Madrid

It was a challenging and rewarding experience. The online lessons were perfectly dosed, neither too short nor too long with a variety of contents.

Read more here

Sylvie D. Madrid
See you in Valencia?We have the most comprehensive course out there!

Hey there! Check out our £449 Crash Course open to ALL! 

  1. Accommodation in Valencia (Monday to Sunday)
  2. 20-hour crash course in Valencia (August 24th & 25th)
  3. 30-hour volunteering in Valencia (Mon-Fri before or after crash course: 19th-23rd or 26th-30th)
  4. Accredited Online course + Assignments + Skype coaching
  5. Hard copy of your Certificate
Join us this month!
Hi there! Want more information about our courses or internships?

Please leave us your details and we'll organise a phone call in the next 24 hours!

You can also book immediately through our calendar:

Book through our CALENDAR!