Friday, November 18, 2016

Becoming knowledgeable about thinking

One of the "hardest" thinking skill that is contained in the PYP Approaches to Learning is metacognition, thinking about how you think and learn.  This knowledge can be divided into 3 different categories:
  • Strategic knowledge - knowing general strategies for learning - basically the what and how of the different strategies (for example how to memorise, extract meaning, comprehend what they are hearing or reading, to set goals, to check their answers and so on)
  • Cognitive knowledge - knowing when and why to use the strategies because not all strategies are suitable for all situations
  • Self-knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses.  Accuracy of this is really important - it is not the same as good self-esteem which might include inflated and inaccurate self-knowledge.
It's important to teach for metacognition as part of regular teaching - discussions about thinking should be an everyday part of the classroom.  As students hear and see how other students approach a task, they can compare their classmates' strategies with their own and make judgements about how useful the different strategies are.  It's also important for us as teachers to plan assessments where students can develop their self-knowledge by assessing their own strengths and weaknesses.

Metacognition enables us to be successful learners.  How are you developing this thinking skills in your students?

Photo Credit: Sidereal Flickr via Compfight cc

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