What is “Metacognition”?

Can one learn “how to think, to learn”? Can one learn to “think about our own thinking”? Yes, indeed.

.We want our students’  study skills to be based on research evidence – to repeatedly quiz themselves, be willing to make mistakes, fix them, and again reach just beyond what they know.

We recommend they alternate their study environments, mix study content, space study sessions and repeatedly self-test what they know and can do.

We urge students to “to think about their thinking” – to ask & answer questions of themselves when facing a problem to be solved:

  1. What is this about?
  2. How is this problem similar to or different from problems faced before?
  3. What strategies might be appropriate & why?
  4. Does the statement of the problem make sense to me?
  5. If not, can I restate it in my own words?
  6. Why am I stuck?
  7. How do I best remember my success to solve similar problems in the future?

This self-directed posing and answering of questions is called “thinking”.  Here are more  questions that can be posed.

Can one learn “how to think, to learn”?  Can one learn to “think about our own thinking”?  Yes, indeed. We call this “metacognition”

Is it hard?  At first, yes – but then it gets easier.  After a while when we do it to satisfy our natural curiosity – it can become quite addictive.

We must be careful to study the solutions to problems that are hard enough  not to be boring – but not so hard as to discourage us from continuing to explore them.

Al