Metacognition is the technology that means thinking about our thinking. Thinking about our thinking is very important because our brains no matter how smart are prone leading us astray by letting us feel we know more than we do.
Two Systems Metaphor
In Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow he outlines a model of how we can think about decision making in our brains.
System 1 – automatic and fast and is more susceptible to the illusion
System 2- is controlled and slower, system 2 helps us manage our impulses
Both of these systems are good at the different type of decision making and can be used to think about how we think through problems to increase our metacognition.
Fluency Illusions are when we feel like we know something, but we have not tried to prove or test what we know. This fallacy is pervasive as we read and reread the text. We feel like we are getting it, but it is just looking familiar. Students who study this way are often shocked that they do not do well on exams because it felt like they knew it.
We develop mastery as we link together and chunk ideas. Because our brains chunk naturally, the irony is that the better we know something, the harder it is to teach because we have large chunks and often skip over incremental steps. Students can overcome some of these gaps by having group study because those who are learning it with you must make smaller leaps in understanding that someone who has mastered the material years ago.
Quiz Yourself and Seek Feedback
The most important tool is to frequently quiz and test ourselves because we will learn what we do and do not know. After we have assessed ourselves and discovered what we do not know, we need to find the right answers so that our brains can form the correct neural pathways. Sometimes the best feedback can be from our teachers either as questions in class, after school, or during office hours.