I’ve been taught since high school that people learn in different ways. While some people cram in the library for hours to get an A, others need to study in small parts over time before the test to really know the material.
Both of these examples relate to one’s own metacognition. According to a Jan. 31 article from Inside Higher Education, metacognition is being able to understand how we learn the way we do.
For example, according to the article, students who get a bad grade and decide to change their study habits before the next test have utilized their metacognition. On the other hand, students who get bad grades and blame the professor are not in touch with their metacognition.
Now, according to the article, many colleges are trying to get their students to have a better connection with their metacognition. One way they’re doing this is by having students think about why they can’t answer certain questions. Much of the time, the answers include a lack of sufficient studying. By forcing students to stop and think about why they don’t know an answer, it will cause them to reflect on how they studied and whether it was effective.
Metacognition requires students to make plans, monitor progress and make adjustments accordingly. TCU seems to be doing its own student metacognition training through Academic Success Workshops, held a few times a month.
The workshops have topics ranging from picking a major to time management to essay writing. They teach students how to balance their time and how to effectively take notes.
Billy Dabney, an academic adviser with the Center for Academic Services, said the workshops were meant to help students achieve not only this balance but also an ability to think about how and what they are learning. Dabney said that because there were many different kinds of learners, many people don’t really know what kind of learner they are. The workshops encourage students to figure out what kind of learner they are and then use trial and error to figure out what exactly works best for them, he said.
On top of teaching students to manage their time, the workshops also teach students how to focus their time on a troublesome subject, Dabney said. However, it requires students to look deeper at what they are studying and to really figure out what is giving them trouble and then to focus more so on that, he said.
Overall, the workshops help teach students to improve their metacognition as well as their grades. Through this newfound use of metacognition, students have the ability to analyze how they think and learn, giving them more control over their ability to successfully study.
When students are able to put what they learn in the different Academic Success Workshops together, they will be able to better understand difficult subjects.
KC Aransen is a sophomore psychology major from Arlington.