Humans are the only creatures that can think about thinking or develop the skill of metacognition. Metacognition is cognition about cognition or knowing about knowing. It is the ability to consider how you learn as well as what you learn. In the past we have talked about multiple intelligences (nine have been identified) and learning modalities (the most common being visual, auditory, and kinesthetic), and now we are on to the concept of metacognition. Michael Martinez says that metacognition is more complex than just thinking about thinking. He says, “Metacognition is the monitoring and control of thought.” He goes on to say that there are three categories of metacognition: metamemory, metacomprehension, and problem solving and critical thinking. He lumps metamemory and metacomprehension together because both refer to understanding one’s own knowledge state. Problem solving and critical thinking, he believes, are the most human of pursuits and demonstrate what we do daily or at least have the potential to do. Martinez, an associate professor in the School of Education at the University of Irvine, full paper can be found at
"What is Metacognition?" The article is well worth the read.
So suffice it to say that metacognition will continue to be defined but it is important to help youth understand the best way to learn for them and how to take that knowledge and set themselves up to be more effective problem solvers and critical thinkers.
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