Monday, February 6, 2012

The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way. Dale Carnegie.

The simplest definition of metacognition is "thinking about thinking." But metacognition really involves more than just thinking about thinking and is generally thought to encompass three aspects. First, developing a plan of action, second, implementing the action plan, and finally evaluating the plan.

High level metacognitive skill enables people to recognize what they don't know, plan strategies for acquiring needed knowledge, assess and refine those strategies even as they implement them, and finally evaluate how well the strategies worked. Clearly, metacognition is an essential element in both goal setting and goal attainment.

Debriefing is one way of fostering metacognition by asking, after the fact, such questions as, what did we do well, what could we improve upon, what would we do differently next time. But, as I learnt recently, many people (perhaps even most) are uncomfortable with the idea and process of a debrief.

Possibly the entire concept of thinking about thinking is foreign or perhaps the idea of having to admit mistakes is difficult. Personally, I frequently debrief after completing tasks, activities or working towards goals. In my opinion, there is no shame in making a mistake, the only shame lies in not learning from your mistake. 

Engaged in learning

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