Meta cognition....thinking about thinking. As educators we know how important this concept is in the process of becoming a confident and successful learner. But do we know how to talk with our students about this?
Some schools have chosen to adopt rather complicated terms to describe different elements of meta cognition and then taught these terms to their students so that they can talk about their learning in that same language. It might be just me but something doesn't sit right with me when you hear a 7 year old saying "I'm learning to synthesise"...
There is now a far greater emphasis on the importance of developing problem solving skills and attitudes in our students. In all areas of learning, educators are creating learning experiences that encourage students to solve authentic problems and to be challenged with open-ended tasks. This is a far more palatable way (in my opinion) to give students thinking skills and to encourage them to reflect on their strategies/decisions and thoughts.
I'm interested in the various ways schools and teachers are sharing these problem solving skills with their students. How would a student in your school talk about their learning? How would they talk about approaching a problem in maths ....or in any area of learning. How is a problem defined?
I once asked my class 'what do you do in maths that is the same as when you're reading?' They couldn't tell me one thing. I was shocked. It got me thinking.....they don't realise WHAT they are actually DOING when they are LEARNING or PROBLEM SOLVING.
I developed a series of 'steps' that seemed to me to roughly capture the thinking that we do or we can do when we are faced with a challenge/new question/new information/skill etc
I put these steps into students language and as a class we talked through what each 'step' meant. We discussed how these steps were the same or very similar in maths, art, science, reading, writing and so on. I found it really helped them to see that they were in charge of their learning. It wasn't happening to them, it was happening because of them. They then had a language for learning that we could share and it crossed all learning areas.
What do others do to get their students thinking about their thinking?
If you're interested - my docs are on my Facebook page - Mathematically Speaking