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School Survival's Metacognition Guide
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Hansgrohe Offline
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Post: #1
School Survival's Metacognition Guide


I've been thinking of creating this for a while now. An actual guide into obtaining metacognition, a term, concept, and ability of thinking that we've been obsessed with on School Survival for quite a while now. Xcriteria, I and a few others like to throw that word around, but the thing is, we never really explain much about it, except that it's basically the ability of "thinking about thinking", or consciously recognizing one's own thought processes and being able to think why they are thinking about them. There are plenty of others, but let's get to why we love metacognition, and more importantly, how to develop it.

1. What is metacognition, anyway?

As explained above, metacognition is the conscious ability to think about one's own thought processes. It's basically inner-cognition. A good example of basic metacognition would be, for example, thinking about why one is bored in the school classroom. Instead of just saying "school is boring!", you try to think why, and that's what metacognition is about. Asking why. You look into why you think the way you think, etc. Simple? Hopefully so.

2. Why are we so obsessed with metacognition, anyway?

Metacognition is one of things that really separates between high-thinking individuals and basic-thinking individuals. Metacognition is essentially the door into mindfulness, situational awareness, anti-procrastination, improving efficiency, and a host of other skills.

Metacognition can also be described as the bridge to the almighty unconscious parts of your brain. Often, as humans, we tend to be rather reactive. We tend to do things rather mindlessly, we do things without thinking much about whether things can be done differently, etc. With metacognition, you develop what I'd call the mental pause, essentially the time between thought and action. With metacognition, this ability is increased.

3. Okay, so how do I get this skill?

As somewhat complicated as it sounds, the reality is that metacognition is actually pretty simple to develop. The truth is, any human being can develop these skills at any point in their life. To an extent, this happens when were are very young in elementary school, but that doesn't go far enough, especially as in general we "are left to fend for ourselves" once middle school begins.

1. Keep a journal of your daily actions, thoughts, and your life in general, etc
This is pretty important. Before you start to really recognize your thought processes, you have to identify them. You have to keep track of how you think, and as your write them down, you have to really look deep inside to identify why you're thinking them. I've found that this helps explains a lot of things that happen in my life, often relating to my subtle personal beliefs, my personal childhood and childhood experiences, etc.

As you keep writing, keep track of what you tend to think. What specific actions, etc do you often think about? Then, attempt to look for what is causing them.

2. Practice analyzing your situation
When you're moving around, think about your current environment. Think about what is going on around you, and what you can do about it. This is very simple. Practice this small skill, and it'll grow.

3. Take time to pause when your in the middle of something
Do this, and just wonder, why?. Ask yourself about what you are doing, etc. and of course, look for explanations.

4. Write a dream journal
Our dreams are our subconscious. Our dreams are what occur when we are not awake. Often, your greatest fantasies, or fears, are often put in display in a very elaborate way. Your dreams are also the key to unlocking your subconscious. Again, keep an eye out for trends, themes, and perhaps objects and/or people.

That's all for now. Any ideas, suggestions, etc, please post them here. I want to create the definitive guide to metacognition for teenagers. The Survival Kit is what's going to bring this place out of the depths of the internet and into a serious site for discussion.

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09-08-2014 01:33 PM
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RE: School Survival's Metacognition Guide

Nice. Smile
09-15-2014 04:03 AM
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xcriteria Offline

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Post: #3
School Survival's Metacognition Guide

Yeah, this deserves to be part of the Survival Guide. One thing I'd add is references to further reading/watching/listening on the topic.

I've listed a bunch in various other threads, but a concise list of them would be good.

Dan Siegel uses the term "mindsight" for what's basically metacognition. His TEDxBlue talk is one introduction:

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I highly recommend Crucial Conversations for its coverage of metacognition, with a focus on conversations and interactions. A lot of this is applicable to cognition in general, including the stories we tell when interpreting things. I have the book, but at least for me, I found the audiobook to be a better way to take in the information. Here's a concise, chapter-by-chapter summary.

Peter Senge's book The Fifth Discipline has a lot of coverage of metacognition, including through its discussion of the mental models through which we interpret things. (Here's an article-length summary.)

Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People also covers a lot about metacognition, including the "space between stimulus and response. (The book's wikipedia article has a brief summary; here's an article-length summary.)

It's also worth nothing that metacognition is being taught even in elementary school in some cases. Here's one blog post about metacognition aimed at teachers, but it's just as relevant here: Metacognition? Priceless!

All of these sources, and others, provide somewhat different angles on metacognition, but there's a thread of overlap between all of them.

And here are two videos from Jonathan Fields that address metacognition. One, How To Break Creative Addiction And Reclaim Your Life is focused on how to step back from being too absorbed in the things you love (without giving them up entirely), and another, How To Overcome Fear of Failure and Judgment, focuses on reframing and basically what the title says.

I'd be curious to hear from people who read/watch all that (at least the book summaries), and learn about what you think. Does this sound useful? Do some explanations or points make more sense, or seem more interesting?

Can you think of real-life examples of putting metacognition into practice, vs. not?

Looking forward to hearing some things. I'll think about those questions, myself.

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09-15-2014 04:58 AM
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Hansgrohe Offline
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Post: #4
School Survival's Metacognition Guide

I should think of doing this again.

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04-14-2017 06:10 AM
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TheVanishingSnowDove Offline
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Post: #5
School Survival's Metacognition Guide

-During the time of my life that I that I was a more creative person (age 12-14) I wrote in a journal every once in a while. Maybe if I start doing that again, I'll go back to being that person. Hmm.

-Sometimes I try to look for the core reason I feel or act a certain way, but I tend to avoid doing that for the situations that matter more. Or, if I start doing that, I give up before finding a helpful answer. It's likely out of fear of discovering something undesirable about myself. (>._.<)

-Keeping a dream journal is also supposed to help with intuition and lucid dreaming (and astral projection). Why do I keep putting off this stuff? Argh

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(This post was last modified: 04-14-2017 08:58 AM by TheVanishingSnowDove.)
04-14-2017 08:57 AM
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