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ERIC Number: EJ937274
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0145-9635
Reflection as a Habit of Mind: Empowering Students through Metacognition
Buckheit, James E.
Independent School, v69 n3 Spr 2010
An important topic of current brain research is "cognitive overload." It is about the capacity of a person's working memory and the strategies employed when that capacity is taxed. The most common strategy for coping with cognitive overload is shutting down, like that point in a conversation with a non-English speaker when everything one says is met with a smiling nod. More information, no matter how palatable one tries to make it, will not improve things. The research in cognitive science also offers new explanations as to why time-honored pedagogies--such as dialogue, reflection, and practice, in the form of explaining what one has learned--work so effectively. Teachers who are reflective and critical about their own thought processes--a decent working definition of "metacognition"--do a good job of training students to do the same. The results are palpable, not only in the atmosphere of classrooms where collaboration and discourse are honored, but also in more practical ways, such as students tackling math problems they have never seen before without freezing with anxiety. Building Vistamar School--a new independent school in California--from the ground up has afforded the author and his colleagues an opportunity to be purposeful and consistent about the way they empower students, through their individual relationships with them, the climate of the community they shape with them, and the knowledge they help them construct. At Vistamar, they have taken four elements of the "Theory of Knowledge" (TOK) syllabus and spread them across the four years of high school in the form of weekly seminars. They are designed to help students develop the sort of metacognition they need in order to take charge of their learning. Their seminars focus on: (1) visual literacy; (2) ethics; (3) the theory of knowledge; and (4) mind and soul. It is with respect to the third tenet of their mission that they have enjoyed the most surprising and delightful outcomes. (Contains 4 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California