Why I Failed High School

A letter from a lifelong learning class clown.

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What Is Metacognition?

In a nutshell, metacognition is often referred to as “thinking about thinking.” The actual definition of metacognition from Merriam-Webster is the “awareness or analysis of one’s own learning or thinking processes.” To break it down further, cognition is our thinking processes (how you think, learn or study) and what helps us acquire knowledge — memory, problem-solving, attention and the methods used in thinking. Cognitive strategies also help with comprehension. While meta is more out-of-the-box or abstract thinking. Together metacognition is the skill of being aware of your thinking processes and strategizing to ensure you meet all your learning goals.

  1. Person Variables: Your learning strengths or weaknesses.
  2. Task Variables: The nature of the task and the processing requirements necessary for completion (e.g., reading a novel is readily absorbed, whereas studying legal text takes time to absorb said knowledge).
  3. Strategy Variables: Understanding what skills to apply to accomplish a task (if you’re reading legal text using the glossary for unfamiliar words or note taking to make sense of it).
  1. Planning: picking the right strategies to tackle a task.
  2. Monitoring: self-awareness on one’s comprehension.
  3. Evaluating: performance review on the finished task.
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Metacognition And Learning

People may learn at different rates using different learning styles and that is exactly what makes being a teacher so difficult, but just as being human unites us, there is one thing that can make learning easier for everyone, and that’s a better understanding, and teaching of, metacognition. Students test better, and because they become more self-aware, they can begin to recognize what resources are required to complete a task. Metacognition is something everyone can benefit from. It’s a good habit that I believe needs to be taught earlier on in the education journey.

  • Monitoring progress
  • What are your strengths; what do you know?
  • What are your weaknesses; what don’t you know?
  • How to integrate flexible learning to adapt to different tasks

“Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them,” — Echart Tolle, A New Earth.

Thinking About Thinking, Beyond School

Does metacognition have a wider applicable outside of school?

  1. Like it or not, we attach a narrative to that thought that’s usually negative. To put the power of negative thoughts into perspective out of the 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts we experience a day, a whopping 80% are negative, according to the National Science Foundation.
  2. And then there’s the pesky fact that humans have a bad habit of dwelling on negativity.

The future of learning is in self-observation

Bottom line, we all want and need to see children succeed for their future and ours. Metacognition is one such way to help give them a chance to make the most out of their education. It’s also another way to create good thinking habits so kids can grow up to be more mindful adults.

This post is part of a series of articles about my $100,000 journey into re-building my mind, body, and inner-self through a series of uncommon experiences that completely transformed my life. Head over here to view more.

I spent $100k rebuilding my mind, body, and inner-self through a series of uncommon experiences that completely transformed my life. This is what I’ve learned.

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