Two things bothered me about your article in The Sun News on Nov. 17, “Meta what? New non-Common Core standards up for review.”
First, the reporter, after making such a big deal about the term “metacognition,” didn’t bother to define it for the reader. That would have made it far more clear, and might even have made my second point more of a concern.
Apparently our new S.C. State Schools Superintendent, Molly Spearman, didn’t know a term that’s been in common use in educational circles at least since the 1970s, for a concept that’s been discussed and explored since the turn of the 20th Century.
Metacognition, for those who might not know, means understanding our own thinking, or “thinking about our own thinking.” While the term itself came into use about 1977, the idea was first explored in depth by the American educational philosopher John Dewey in his classic book, “How We Think,” in 1910. The book and many since have been important tools for educators, and those who prepare teachers, as we help our students to be critical thinkers.
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As a public school teacher and teacher educator, I’ve emphasized metacognition both for my high school students and for those I have helped to hone their teaching skills. Critical thinking is a key element of a sound education. It’s what all good teachers — and good students — do every day. For the State Superindendent to admit that she had to Google “metacognition” is disconcerting, to say the least.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.