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Using Concept Mapping to Foster Adaptive Expertise

Enhancing Teacher Metacognitive Learning to Improve Student Academic Performance


Diane Salmon and Melissa Kelly

Concept mapping is a powerful means to promote metacognitive learning in students and teachers alike. When teachers integrate concept mapping into their instructional planning, they clarify the big ideas, expose new conceptual relationships, and refine learning goals for their students. Salmon and Kelly provide a research-based framework and corresponding strategies to help teachers develop, critique, and revise their concept maps. In using this approach, teachers refine knowledge for teaching in order to expand their adaptive expertise and ultimately improve the academic performances of their students. Teacher candidates at both the undergraduate and graduate level can use this book to support their professional learning and planning for teaching. Teacher educators will find this text appropriate for courses that address learning, cognition, and instructional planning. In-service professionals can use the approach described here to support their own professional development through their practice. Administrators and coaches will find the volume a useful tool in fostering a professional learning community in their schools.


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Throughout the book we have made a case for incorporating concept mapping into instructional planning to further teachers’ metacognitive learning and adaptive expertise. It is important to acknowledge, though, that we are not claiming that concept mapping is the be-all and end-all of instructional plan- ning. There are multiple steps involved outside of concept mapping includ- ing assessing students’ prior knowledge, reviewing resources, and adapting or developing instructional activities. Yet, concept mapping engages and makes visible the core thinking processes that are critical to instructional planning and important to student learning. These thinking processes include: • Identifying, retrieving, labeling, differentiating, and associating import- ant concepts • Prioritizing, analyzing, and elaborating key conceptual relationships • Organizing and reorganizing conceptual structures • Integrating conceptual structures to form a strong conceptual frame- work When these thinking processes become visible to individuals through con- cept mapping (i.e., metacognitive), they can more easily be shared in import- ant professional interactions. When teachers approach their practice with a 240 using concept mapping to foster adaptive expertise metacognitive awareness, they can better self-monitor and adapt their teach- ing in relation to student learning. Both the process and product of concept mapping provide teachers with metacognitive feedback to help them inte- grate their knowledge bases to refine their conceptual framework for teaching. Concept maps can serve as a focal point in mentoring dialogues to improve instructional planning. Collaborative teams of teachers can construct concept maps together to co-construct meaning across instructional contexts. The in- teractions stimulated by concept mapping for instructional planning...

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