Importance of Metacognition for  life success

Metacognition has applications for many arenas of school success. The essence of metacognition is awareness of one's cognitive processes, as well as an ability to develop a plan for achieving a goal and evaluating one's effectiveness of reaching that goal.

In science or mathIn science or mathematics, metacognition looks like planning strategies to use on a word problem or to design an experiment to isolate a given element. Additionally, metacognition means being able to evaluate several different strategies used in order to determine which ones worked, and which ones might be the best to use in a similar situation in the future.

Metacognition is quite possibly one of the most valuable life skills as well as academic skills. Ideally, a new employee may have to be corrected on a procedure once or twice, but after that the boss will hope that s/he will have the awareness to catch and correct that mistake independently. An employee with weak metacognition must continually be corrected externally, which is a source of frustration for employer and employee alike! On a more personal note, most people know someone (or are someone!) who continues to make the same mistake over and over again in his or her personal life, be it in the area of romance, family relationships, or job choice.

 This person continually makes the same sort of bad choice, each time thinking "This time will be different". In fact, we often say of such a person "will they never learn?" Such a person has weak metacognition, and may indeed have some other circumstance (personal insecurity, uncontrolled anger, etc.) which prevents metacognition from occurring in that particular area of his or her life. rong>consists of three basic elements:

  • Developing a plan of action
  • Maintaining/monitoring the plan
  • Evaluating the plan

Before - When you are developing the plan of action, ask yourself:

  • What in my prior knowledge will help me with this particular task?
  • In what direction do I want my thinking to take me?
  • What should I do first?
  • Why am I reading this selection?
  • How much time do I have to complete the task?

During - When you are maintaining/monitoring the plan of action, ask yourself:

  • How am I doing?
  • Am I on the right track?
  • How should I proceed?
  • What information is important to remember?
  • Should I move in a different direction?
  • Should I adjust the pace depending on the difficulty?
  • What do I need to do if I do not understand?

After - When you are evaluating the plan of action ask yourself:

  • How well did I do?
  • Did my particular course of thinking produce more or less than I had expected?
  • What could I have done differently?
  • How might I apply this line of thinking to other problems?
  • Do I need to go back through the task to fill in any "blanks" in my understanding?