Learning to Learn – A Metacognitive Attitude

Moia Rowsome Blog

Fostering independence and autonomy in our learners can be a difficult task to master. How do we get them to learn effectively on their own? How do they become self-sufficient and motivated enough to do work without someone else holding their hand? And to know what measures to take if they don’t understand something? Well, it ultimately comes down to the student themselves and their approach to developing skills for independent learning. However, first the teacher must cultivate some learning strategies over time which will lead to the student being able to learn more effectively on their own. A Metacognitive Attitude An effective way to develop this sense of  learner autonomy in others is to encourage them to be observers of their own learning process. This sense of self-awareness is what is known as a metacognitive attitude. Metacognition means being aware of our own thought process as we carry out a task. A metacognitive attitude is one whereby the learner purposely thinks about and reflects on what they are learning. It also develops learner autonomy by enabling the student to gain more control over what they are doing. If a learner can develop this attitude over time, they will know how to approach future learning tasks and thus become more successful in these endeavors. How do we do this? – A Plan of Action According to Dylan Wiliam of the University of London, it has always been clear that the best students act metacognitively. It involves planning, thinking about their learning process, …

30hands at Home: Interviewing a Relative

Gaby Charmont Blog

Each person has a unique background full of different cultural influences and their own lived experiences. Our relatives hold a wealth of stories about where and how they grew up, and it is interesting to uncover your past through having conversations and listening to what others have to say. Take the time to learn from the stories and wisdom they can offer in order to grow through gaining their perspective on life.   The Activity: Have your children interview a few of their relatives and obtain their stories. They will listen to the lived history of their family members and ask questions along the way. Help your children to identify cultural influences that have shaped their past through their relatives stories.  The Level: This is a valuable activity where children can learn a great deal at any age. At all ages, kids are able to gain a new understanding from listening to their relative’s stories. Older children may find it easier to makes connections to their own lives and to better understand the perspective of that family member. The Procedure: Ideally, have your child meet with in person or call the family member that they have chosen to interview. This may not be possible though and other forms of communication, such as e-mail, could be used to obtain their relative’s stories, but are less personal. Have your children focus on the meaning of that story and the takeaways present which they could apply to their own life. Your children will make a …

From Failure to Fantastic

Gaby Charmont Blog

Have you ever gotten a poor grade on an assignment when you think it truly deserved better? Did you take an honest look and were able to admit you did everything you could to make it great? I bet there is reasoning behind those grades received, and often a quick read through of a student’s work can confirm the amount of revisions that were done before submitting, that number usually being none. Here’s the thing, we’re not perfect and neither is anything we do on the first try. This is why iterative creativity is so important, especially in the classroom, and far beyond. This iterative process works as a cycle where you design your project, build it, test it, and then repeat. You can get an idea for a project, build the presentation, have your peers make edits and suggestions on your work, and then repeat with consideration given to creatively improving the parts others pointed out. While this cycle might need to be repeated a few times, I promise your project will be much closer to perfect than it was on your first attempt. Although it was a hard lesson to learn, I eventually discovered the power a do-over has to add value to a project. I was discouraged throughout grade school when I would turn in my work, thinking it was comparable to that of a creative genius, and would receive suggestions for improvement. This made me feel like I would never be as creative as my peers. In reality though, …

Stop Learning, Start Thinking

Eric Braun Blog 0 Comments

Yesterday, I watched a TEDxTEEN talk by child prodigy physicist Jacob Barnett (Don’t mix him up with “Josh” or you’re in for a surprise). He says, “Stop learning, and start thinking!” Yes, he says it with enthusiasm. He cannot contain himself! He attributes his knowledge and understanding with the fact that he takes time out to contemplate an idea in depth.  Why does he say this? Why could it be true?   When the goal is to create something or solve a problem, we have to think about it. At some point, we will come to the conclusion that we need to do some research — find books or websites or other people who will gives us some information to use as a tool to solve the problem. This is true learning. This is what we as employers want to see in our employees. Another thing employers want in employees is people who can work well in teams. They don’t always know they want this, but they do. Even the best lone programmer in a corner will not typically be as good as a circle of programmers who talk to each other about their ideas, help each other from time-to-time and share code.    What if we make as many learning materials available as possible (and anytime, anywhere on any device if possible) and then set the students free with projects to create and problems to solve in teams? Our role as teachers is to coach the students through the …