Thinking About Thinking
Thinking about thinking, to learn how to learn – does your child know this one problem-solving skill that will never become obsolete?
What You Need to Know
The very thing that makes us human is our awareness of our awareness – our ability to think about thinking. However, maintaining awareness of how we think, and which of our ways of thinking are better than others can require a bit of practice – but it's worth it!
- thinking about thinking
- refers to awareness of what we do and don't know
- improves and increases children's quality of learning
- necessary when life presents situations that learned or habitual responses prove unsuccessful to resolve
- helps children become successful problem solvers for life by enabling successful coping when facing new situations in a rapidly changing world
Basic metacognitive strategies are:
- Connecting new information to former knowledge.
- Selecting thinking strategies deliberately.
- Planning, monitoring, and evaluating thinking processes.
A thinking person:
- determines when metacognitive strategies are necessary
- defines problem situations and alternative solutions
- monitors, controls, and judges his own thinking
- evaluates when a problem is solved, or when demands of daily living take a higher priority
How You Can Help
Suggest the following to your child as an exercise during any particularly difficult problem-solving activity, whether it's completing math homework, conducting personal research, or resolving a disagreement with a friend. The goal is to increase awareness of how tasks are accomplished:
- Identify what you know and don't know. Use this to determine what you still need to know.
- Develop a “thinking” vocabulary by talking aloud as you plan your problem-solving, to develop a second-nature thought process for working through future problems.
- Reflect upon your thinking using a “thinking journal.” Make note of ambiguities or inconsistencies that arise as you progress, and comment on how you address them.
- Once the problem is solved, think back over your thinking process that led you to the solution. Evaluate your successes, dismiss inappropriate strategies, identify strategies that seem valuable for future use, and seek promising alternatives to incorporate down the road.
For more on this topic, please see the full article:
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