The Role of Metacognition in Learning and Achievement
Excerpted from “Four-Dimensional Education: The Competencies Learners Need to Succeed,” by Charles Fadel, Bernie Trilling and Maya Bialik. The following is from the section, “Metacognition—Reflecting on Learning Goals, Strategies, and Results.”
Metacognition, simply put, is the process of thinking about thinking. It is important in every aspect of school and life, since it involves self-reflection on one’s current position, future goals, potential actions and strategies, and results. At its core, it is a basic survival strategy, and has been shown to be present even in rats.
Perhaps the most important reason for developing metacognition is that it can improve the application of knowledge, skills, and character qualities in realms beyond the immediate context in which they were learned. This can result in the transfer of competencies across disciplines—important for students preparing for real-life situations where clear-cut divisions of disciplines fall away and one must select competencies from the entire gamut of their experience to effectively apply them to the challenges at hand. Even within academic settings, it is valuable—and often necessary—to apply principles and methods across disciplinary lines.
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