This weekend the Big Guy was rather engrossed in his school work. It seemed like every time I attempted to say anything to him he just didn’t hear me. Or for that matter even respond. On Sunday, the Big Guy told me he knew what happened. His explanation was that he thinks in words so he couldn’t figure out if he was hearing his thoughts or me. (Yep, I know voices in the head. I could have fun with that one but I won’t). He went on to say that the way he thinks or learning style is why he doesn’t hear me and that he can only focus on one thing at a time. Well, my response is that my thoughts are more like movies complete with sights, sounds and sometimes smell. I could be in another room doing something else and hear what he is saying. Then followed a conversation about how he was not gifted with ADHD like I am.
OK, so besides being nerds we are both educators with far too many degrees and certifications between us. In the process of all that training we have learned about learning styles and learning theories. Our conversation illustrates the benefit of knowing one’s learning style and how one thinks. So, if you are still trying to figure out the title. In simplest terms metacognition is thinking about one’s thinking. Knowing how one thinks and learns can be useful in becoming more efficient in work or learning. I have often tutored students that spent hours studying but didn’t retain much. The student would spend hours studying the way a parent or teacher told them to but not in a way that was helpful for them. My mom used to try to make me study at the dinning room table in a chair straight back chair in complete silence. All I could think about was getting out of the chair and how the clock made a clicking sound every second. In college I learned that writing things I needed to learn on note cards and caring them around with me was far more useful than staring at a page of notes. If I really wanted to concentrate on something I would grab my note cards and take a walk. As I was walking I would read a card and then repeat the contents of the card to myself as I walked. One note if you want to look less weird put head phones on and it looks like you are just singing. So why is this more productive for me? First, it fits my learning style. In case you are wondering I’m a tactile kinesthetic learner.
It is important that students are not only taught content material but the skills needed to become independent and efficient learners.