Learning about learning when you learn…?!


Thinking let the sparks flies

Do you think about thinking?

Oh boy, that sound confusing doesn’t it… Let me explain. One of the factors that some say distinguishes us human from the other animals in the animal kingdom is our ability to have meta-cognition.  Wow, big word, what’s that? It refers to a higher level of cognition, i.e. being able to think about your thinking.  As teachers/lecturers/professors we should stimulate our students to do this; not only to think about what they’ve learned directly, but also what they learned from the process of learning.

If you are a student, do YOU think about that? Or are you so worried about passing the exam that afterwards you hardly can remember a thing?  Thinking about your learning experience can help you with your next learning experience. So if you fail (or do badly) in something, should it not tell you something, not only about the material, but also how you approached the material?

If you are on the lecturing side, do YOU think about helping your students to do that? Or are you just worried about your little field of specialization? I actually think many people on the lecturing side does, but sadly some probably don’t.  Thinking about this reminded me of the very famous video of Randy Pausch‘s last lecture.  He uses the term “mind fake” to send a message behind a message… Should we not be thinking more about our “mind fakes”?

If you have experience mind fakes from your parents, your mentors, whoever, please share that with everybody in the comments.

Note: If you’re not one of the more than 12 million people who already watched this on YouTube, plan to. It is an hour and a quarter, but you will not regret making the time — if this doesn’t make you think, nothing probably will…

“On September 18, 2007, Carnegie Mellon professor and alumnus Randy Pausch delivered a one-of-a-kind last lecture that made the world stop and pay attention.” (CMU) I think you should also pay attention. Randy died July 25, 2008, at the age of 47, but his legacy lives… forever.


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