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Thinking About Thinking

Study and Learn Skills: http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/high-school-teachers/807

Meta-cognition means to think about how you think. In this class, thinking about how we think is just as important as the content that we learn. If you learn how you learn, you can master any content.

Metacognition refers to awareness of one’s own knowledge—what one does and doesn’t know—and one’s ability to understand, control, and manipulate one’s cognitive processes (Meichenbaum, 1985). It includes knowing when and where to use particular strategies for learning and problem solving as well as how and why to use specific strategies.

Metacognition is the ability to use prior knowledge to plan a strategy for approaching a learning task, take necessary steps to problem solve, reflect on and evaluate results, and modify one’s approach as needed. Flavell (1976), who first used the term, offers the following example: I am engaging in Metacognition if I notice that I am having more trouble learning A than B; if it strikes me that I should double check C before accepting it as fact (p. 232).
What kind of thinking habit do you have?

32 Habits That Make Thinkers

1. Doesn’t always seek to please others
2. Is a charismatic listener
3. Can learn from anything
4. Asks “Why?” almost annoyingly
5. Is comfortable with uncertainty
6. Writes for their own understanding, not performance
7. Values questions over answers
8. Thinks laterally, endlessly connecting this to that, here to there
9. Uses divergent thinking
10. Can move back and forth from micro to macro thinking
11. Reads for pleasure
12. Looks for patterns
13. Studies the nuance of things (because it’s interesting)
14. Sees every situation as something new, because it is
15. Asks what they’re missing or haven’t considered
16. Playfully reframes and/or improves questions
17. Relates humility to learning, and vice-versa
18. Can instantly separate fact from opinion
19. Resists confirmation bias (i.e., they instead analyze then draw conclusions)
20. Doesn’t follow crowds
21. Articulates their own thinking without prompting (often creatively)
22. Designs learning pathways effortlessly–they just go
23. Socializes thinking for collaboration rather than approval
24. Sees learning as inseparable from living
25. Reflects for analysis rather than judgment
26. Uses emotion to catalyze their intellect
27. Sees situations from multiple perspectives
28. Plays with ideas (without being told)
29. Can think with simplicity about complexity, and with complexity about simplicity
30. Demonstrates an insatiable curiosity for something (may not always be what’s academic or convenient)
31. Seeks to be both rational and ridiculous in their thinking
32. Shows patience (by “dwelling with” questions, texts, or problems)
and for extra bonus points:
33. Finds the complexity within the mundane

36 Thinking Strategies To Help Yourself Wrestle With Complexity

Early Understanding

1. Parts

  1. Explain or describe it simply
  2. Label its major and minor parts
  3. Evaluate its most and least important characteristics
  4. Deconstruct or “unbuild” it efficiently
  5. Give examples and non-examples
  6. Separate it into categories, or as an item in broader categories

2. Whole

  1. Explain it in micro-detail and macro-context
  2. Create a diagram that embeds it in a self-selected context
  3. Explain how it is and is not useful both practically and intellectually
  4. Play with it casually
  5. Leverage it both in parts and in whole
  6. Revise it expertly, and explain the impact of any revisions

3. Interdependence 

  1. Explain how it relates to similar and non-similar ideas
  2. Direct others in using it
  3. Explain it differently–and precisely–to both a novice and an expert
  4. Explain exactly how and where others might misunderstand it
  5. Compare it to other similar and non-similar ideas
  6. Identify analogous but distinct ideas, concepts, or situations

4. Function

  1. Apply it in unfamiliar situations
  2. Create accurate analogies to convey its function or meaning
  3. Analyze the sweet spot of its utility
  4. Repurpose it with creativity
  5. Know when to use it
  6. Plausibly theorize its origins

5. Abstraction

  1. Insightfully or artfully demonstrate its nuance
  2. Criticize it in terms of what it might “miss” or where it’s “dishonest”
  3. Debate its “truths” as a supporter or devil’s advocate
  4. Explain its elegance or crudeness
  5. Analyze its objectivity and subjectivity, and how the two relate
  6. Design a sequel, extension, follow-up, or evolution of it

6. Self

  1. Self-direct future learning about the topic
  2. Ask specific, insightful questions about it
  3. Recall or narrate their own learning sequence or chronology (metacognition) in coming to know it
  4. Is comfortable using it across diverse contexts and circumstances
  5. Identify what they still don’t understand about it
  6. Analyze changes in self-knowledge as a result of understanding

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