Faith Escudero, MEd, CAGS, LMHC

Teaching the Principles of Optimal Mental Well-being

Learn How to Learn

 

Metacognition and Reading Learning Disability

     Here is an example of the importance behind learning how to learn. Some refer to this as metacognition. This is a brief example of a seventh grade student. His reading skills were significantly below his same age peers. In his Individual Education Plan, the team agreed his challenges with learning to read required the Wilson Reading Program – a very structured 1:1 reading program. Also written in his IEP was the student becomes easily frustrated when attempting to read and does not use the strategies he has been taught. The bottom line is until the student is in a more receptive state of mind during reading instruction, the reading program is irrelevant. It is like trying to push water down a clogged drain.

     After observing and listening to this student during reading class, he had a habit of buying into thoughts like “I don’t want to do this”, or “I can’t do this”. When he views these thoughts as more than Thought, when he views them as the only truth possible, his mind is closed and he is not available to learn. As he became more aware of the nature of Thought or how to use his Mind more efficiently during reading instruction, his acquisition of reading skills accelerated. He also experienced enjoyment while learning to read.

     The first book he read with Faith who has a deep understanding of how to learn:

         (it also happened to be Non Wilson Reading Program material)

  • 38% on the vocabulary pretest.

    Then

  • 4 days of reading instruction, approximately 30 to 40 minutes a day, this included basic guidance of using his innate operating system properly while learning to read.
  • 92% on the vocabulary post test.

     Regardless the content of what you are learning, your learning style or learning challenge, each one of us must use these psychological elements to learn. Building knowledge of them allows an individual to access their true potential to learn. 

 

Learning is Essential

      When we are born, we are unaware of how to walk, talk, read, play a sport, drive a car, calculate algebra problems, take tests, parent, and run a company. We learn these tasks. As we learn skills and concepts, we acquire habits how to understand and master them through trial and error or adopting others methods to learn.

      Now we have the opportunity to learn how to learn in the most effective and optimal manner. Since the innate technology we use each moment to learn has been uncovered, Mind, Thought, Consciousness, we are able to build limitless awareness of each of these elements and how to best use them as we learn. One's rate and depth of understanding expands regardless the content one is learning, one's learning history, demographics, and or what one's capabilities are reported to be.

      Some refer to this knowledge as metacognition. Others refer to it as critical thinking skills, study skills or the psychology of learning. Whatever words you find yourself using to point to the acquisition of knowledge, greater understanding of the elements one is using to acquire the knowledge, Mind, Thought, Consciousness, simplifies the process.

        Individuals understand with greater clarity how to study, take a test, or complete the discrete components of the learning process in a particular content area such as math. They become more available, less stressed and more at ease, thus overcoming learning hurdles one may have thought was not possible. 

 

What is metacognition?

      You most likely have heard or read somewhere, we use only a portion of our true capabilities. With greater knowledge of these psychological principles, our innate technology, we are able to access our true potential to learn easily and readily. Learn how to learn includes building knowledge of (understanding at deeper levels):

  • how to use the mind more consciously, for example, when it is open or closed as well as its optimal features such as insight,  synthesis, and common sense
  • how Thought works that is, when it is the barrier or gateway to accessing one's true potential or versatility to learn
  • one’s mindset when learning, how to easily shift it and the discrete reasons one's mindset makes a significant difference in enjoying and succeeding at learning the task,
  • how to listen with greater ease and efficiency regardless the topic or barrier,
  • the opportunity inherent in learning from one's mistakes which is a vital component in the learning process, and
  • accessing one's true capabilities when taking a test.

       This substantially reduces and can eliminate test anxiety, math anxiety, discipline issues, classroom "management", attendance issues, technology over use or illegal misuse, and more. There is feedback and more examples below.

 

Feedback From Students

     “…I personally felt the value of this class was priceless…”

     “….I’ve cleared my mind without knowing it during classes and it has helped me concentrate and understand the lesson better. It also allowed me to really pay attention to the class, so I don’t miss anything important…I see other students benefiting greatly from these classes. They would have less stress, would be calmer and in a better mood, and their attentiveness would be greater…Many students have an enormous amount of stress during and after school and this could and is a way to alleviate the problem…” 

      “…I have a nicer life with my sister…We fight less…When she is upset, I am more aware she is going through something and I just let it go…If more kids learned this, there would be less bullying…”

       “…It makes homework easier and less of a problem…”

       “…with learning this, I am not getting angry or emotional as much…sometimes, I use to have a short temper…Other students would benefit from learning this….They would learn to think deeper…”

        “…He did outstanding on his math final! He scored a 98!...he is very confident, which is what he lacked the first time around....in fact, I went to the classroom to see another student…I noticed he was helping another student with math.…”

         “…I am noticing I am less and less stressed out when I would normally be…In other classes, there is still a lot of arguing, but in our class, the arguing has toned down a lot…This would tame violent tendencies…”

         “…,it changes the way you make decisions…It changes you as a person..It will change everything…If more students learn this, they will think twice before they do something…It will improve the amount of work that got done in school.. It would even be a cleaner school…Kids just throw trash on the floor and they would think twice before they throw trash on the floor…When something good happened, instead of saying, “oh good, something good just happened”, it has helped me to see the other benefits of the good that just happened…It has let me know just how lucky I am…”

        “….If I feel down, now I can help myself and that’s good…If more kids learned about this, there would be a less angry and more welcoming world…"

        “…Even if people don’t know about this or understand it, it is still happening without us knowing about it…If more people learned this, it would be a more peaceful world…Right now, we spend so much money on jails…If more people understood this, we wouldn’t need jails and it would be a much smarter world…”

        “…I don’t hold grudges as much as I use to…”

 

Metacognition and General Education

  ~ ~ ~ One of Many Examples

      It is a middle school math class. Many students are very chatty during instruction. One instructor may think they are not being respectful during instruction and focus on this. Another may think this is normal behavior for middle school students. The deeper truth is they are listening, yet they are listening to the thoughts occurring inside their heads. They are so invested in them, they are saying them out loud to another person or to themselves.

        They are preoccupied. Their minds are busy. They are less available to learn, if at all. The deeper truth is this is not bad behavior. It is lack of knowledge of one's innate operating system. Without this knowledge, we innocently develop bad or unhealthy habits in using it. We also trip upon its more optimal features through trial and error or adopt a less conscious habit with an optimal feature, hence less access to our true capabilities.

     Our best learning occurs when we allow our minds to clear - be silent. In these moments, we are doing our highest quality listening. We are listening without effort. We are living in an elevated feeling state. Our body is relaxed. And the best part is this state of mind is our default setting, our natural state. This is the state of mind a person is available to learn.

      Another reason this state of mind is important is it is the internal climate insight, synthesis, creativity and common sense - higher quality Thought ~ occur. As insight or synthesis occurs, knowledge is revealed and understood. This state of mind is the key to acquisition of knowledge, clicks or connections made within or across disciplines or to life in real time. Furthermore, memorization or recall is the collection or accumulation of information rather than the acquisition of knowledge. The more students are aware of their innate operating system and how it works, they are able to use it proficiently, both in and out of the classroom.

     Our innate operating system was designed to work in a particular manner just like a computer or iPhone's innate operating system was designed to work in a particular manner. An educator who has greater awareness of his or her innate operating system or psychological elements has an accurate understanding of what the students are doing to get in the way of their learning. Thus, interventions are simplified and yield higher outcomes. Also, the instructor is better able to use his or her psychological elements more proficiently, automatically guiding the students to do the same. In other words, the teacher is a role model or living example of the solution. He or she has a deeper understanding how and why to do this. Classroom management simplifies.Time on learning expands.

 

Metacognition and Pervasive Developmental Disorder

     This student was given the diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder. There were several ways in which his organic ability to learn was different than students who learned in a typical manner.

     One of the habits he had developed that impeded his learning in a classroom was referred to as self-talk. He typically had a conversation with himself and it was often about the same topic. Again, one must listen or allow his or her mind to be free and clear to learn or build knowledge. His mind was always filled or busy as manifested in the self-talk, unavailable to learn. Some people with no awareness of our three psychological elements were under the impression this ongoing dialogue was a result of the student watching a TV show that had the same dialogue. Due to Faith's deep understanding of the three psychological elements, she saw and experienced it very differently. She understood the boy had developed a habit with Thought that was a barrier to learning. Like many typical students, he was constantly listening to thoughts occurring in his head (preoccupied). The difference was the content of his thoughts were different than a child with typical development and he had an ongoing dialogue with himself. In other words, the greater one understands our innate technology, the less one focuses on the content of one's thoughts and the more one understands how one is using this powerful tool from one moment to the next.

    First, Faith's deep understanding of what the psychological elements are and how to use hers in a more proficient manner allowed her to understand the true origin of the learning challenge. This paved the way to provide an intervention which accurately targeted the underlying cause. Second, since Faith often lives in a quiet state of mind in the classroom, it paved the way for the student to do the same. Third, in the moments, he was not as easily able to clear his mind, Faith had the knowledge and understanding how to provide simple guidance to assist him to do it. She also has a deep understanding of when he was effectively clearing his mind. The bottom line is his availability to learn increased significantly, and as a result, so did his time spent on learning and acquisition of the curriculum.

 

Three Psychological Principles in Education

     ~ Accelerate Academic Progress & Reduce Spending

     Many more examples of the relevance to greater knowledge of the 3 psychological principles and learning can be discussed such as development and proficiency with language, social skills or math anxiety. This knowledge has been a quintessential missing piece within education. This is one of the pivotal reasons, if not the pivotal reason, spending continues to increase while proficiency of the core curriculum is still relatively low.

       We are very fortunate these psychological elements have been uncovered and educators such as Faith are building knowledge of them in relation to the acquisition of knowledge, skills and one's true learning potential. Schedule an advanced psychology of learning class as an enrichment workshop for your students, a training for your staff, an elective class in your school. It could be referred to as a study skills class or  Test and MCAS preparation class. You could also provide a seminar for your PTO or SePAC to further encourage parent and community involvement. Regardless the target audience or the name of the class or workshop, understand this class is a necessity to achieve the results you are mandated to achieve academically. This includes to properly prepare your students to succeed in the global community upon graduation, to achieve sustainable reduction of bullying, discipline referrals and drop out rates; to achieve sustainable increase of parent involvement; and to successfully reduce spending while simultaneously accelerating academic progress.