Pause. Reflect. Plan. Monitor. The Power of Metacognition / Intrapersonal Thinking

 Reflection_timeIn the hub-bub social world of the classroom it is difficult to switch things down and unplug from the “doing” and the “socializing” to activate the Intrapersonal intelligence.

I think the first step in making this transition is for teachers to value the thinking skills associated with the Intrapersonal intelligence so that students aren’t simply “doing nothing.”

This is difficult for teachers to do for a couple of reasons. First, Intrapersonal is the “invisible” intelligence that needs some “thing” to bring it to life. Second, most teachers greatly value the more visible Interpersonal activities (e.g., cooperative learning) and also are charged with keeping students “busy” and productive. It doesn’t look like students are being productive when they’re reflecting and are self-directed. Teachers value cooperative learning because they can see what students are up to and can even measure what they are doing. During Self Reflection they are left wondering, What’s going on in there? How can they assess and measure what they cannot see?  In our data obsessed world, it takes a strong teacher to give students a few precious minutes for active reflection.

Another barrier to bringing Intrapersonal thinking into the curriculum is that rarely have students been taught how to think in this way. There are guidelines for working in groups but few procedures for building Intrapersonal skill. This is too bad because metacognitive skill has been associated with success in both life and academic achievement.

This fact was recently highlighted in an article entitled, The Power of Reflection by Stephen Fleming in a recent issue of MIND: Behavior. Brain Science. Insights, who writes… Insight into our own thoughts, or metacognition, is key to high achievement in all domains.

Scientific American Mind 25, 30 – 37 (2014)
Published online: 14 August 2014 | doi:10.1038/scientificamericanmind0914-30