Metacognition: The Secret Power Set

Four forces are in the wind of the educational world propelling the complementary notions of metacognitive reflection, self-regulation, self-assessment, and a sense of student agency. These are identified as dispositions  needed for our future citizens as they assume their rightful role of life-long learners. According to Toeffler, “The illiterate of the future will not be those who cannot read and write, rather it will be those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn” – the skills at the very heart of metacognitive reflection. The four winds impacting this mission are:

  • Schools are riding on the coattails of the Common Core State Standards
  • Schools are no longer just the brick and mortar buildings, but, schools without walls.
  • Schooling, in fact, is anywhere, anytime learning; doing it to learn not learning to do.
  • Student agency is the goal;  teaching in ways that students  learn without being taught.

The secret power of metacognition is one of the ways this happens. Students must acquire the skillfulness to be metacognitive, to step back from the action of the moment, to think about their thinking, and what they are thinking about, and at the same time, to strive to learn about their strengths and weaknesses as learners. They must know what they are good at, what they can improve, and what is, at this moment, outside their areas of interest, specialty or speculation. Students must be empowered within themselves to forge ahead, regardless of the paths they may choose.

Attention to the metacognitive strategies for planning, monitoring and evaluation their own behaviors and learning dispositions is key to becoming more reflective and more self-reliant. Teachers and students must begin to embrace a somewhat less content dependent and more application-dependent approach to living and learning. Of course, content is always there. It is what we have to think about, but the processes are the life long skills that help students strike the 21st Century postures of “kids in the know.

Call Robin Fogarty & Associates for professional learning days this summer. It is the perfect time for students to soak in the promise of this amazing set of strategies that include 1) a metacognitive strategies skill set for reflective learning 2) a formative assessment skills set for actionable feedback , and 3) a student collaboration skill set for peer coaching.

800.213.9246. We will listen, ask questions and advise you and your instructional leadership team how to best roll out this curriculum of  “21st Century Soft Skills” that are shaping the options students have as future citizens, facing unknown challenges in their lifetimes.

Education reform: Teaching the teachers | The Economist

In a study updated last year, John Hattie of the University of Melbourne crunched the results of more than 65,000 research papers on the effects of hundreds of interventions on the learning of 250m pupils. He found that aspects of schools that parents care about a lot, such as class sizes, uniforms and streaming by ability, make little or no difference to whether children learn (see chart). What matters is “teacher expertise”. All of the 20 most powerful ways to improve school-time learning identified by the study depended on what a teacher did in the classroom.

Source: Education reform: Teaching the teachers | The Economist

The 8 Most Important Soft Skills Every Graduating Student Needs and Why

As you may expect, there are lots of definitions for them. One way to say it is that soft skills encompass non-curricular emotionally-based skills that are not generally measurable. They have more to do with how we connect with each other, and with the world around us. In many ways, they’re also about building relationships.

Source: The 8 Most Important Soft Skills Every Graduating Student Needs and Why

Learn from the Greats: 7 Writing Habits of Amazing Writers | WTD

What is one of your best writing habits? I tend to do 3 things:

1- End for the day when I have more to say, So I want to get back to the writing.

2- Read everything I wrote that day, without stopping, straight through, aloud.

3 – Count my words, and record them where I can see them next time I return to the work

B. M. Pete

I love reading about my favorite writers and what writing habits led to their success. Below, I share with you some of my favorite writers’ work habits … and it’s obvious that there’s no single way to success. Some like to write a certain number of words or pages every day, others were happy to write a page or a sentence. Some liked to write long-hand, others did it on index cards. Some wrote standing up, others lying down.

Source: Learn from the Greats: 7 Writing Habits of Amazing Writers | WTD

Social Media: Now and Forever!

The Immediacy and Permanency of Social Media: Does One Trump the Other?

Brian M. Pete    

My Aunt Dollo did not use a telephone. She was born in 1890 in Billings, Montana and did not have a phone when growing up. In fact, she never owned a phone until the mid-sixties. Yet, even then, she did not favor the phone. She would say, in her sweet, passive-aggressive way, “If you don’t want to take the time to write me a nice letter, well then, that tells me something.”

I think that’s why my mother had all of us nine children take the time every year to write a letter to Aunt Dollo. The act of writing a letter on fine stationary was definitely a challenge. It took time and effort to plan what to say and to take care in writing every word without a mistake. When she passed away, all of these letters were found among her personal affects, meticulously sorted in shoeboxes and labeled in Aunt Dollo’s beautiful script. For Aunt Dollo, she understood that letter writing took time, but she valued the permanent record that was left. To her, conversations on the phone, while immediate and convenient, were too ephemeral, too fleeting.

I wonder what my Aunt Dollo would say today? Would she understand that advent of the telephone arrived at the speed of a glacier, while changes in modern times move at remarkable speeds that parallel the speed of light, have instant impact, accumulate incessantly and result in dramatic communication machinations in every sector of society? It’s fun to think about what Aunt Dolly might say about an email, tweet or Skype communications.

The state of communication affairs today across the scope of Social Media – texting messages, emailing communications, posting to blogs, Googling data, referencing web-sites, Skyping family members, Whatsapping friends, sharing photos on Facebook and Instagram is immediate and convenient, for sure, yet, this suite of media is more often than not, also, permanent and lasting. That said, I am convinced that social media is, without a doubt, a transformational form of communication. It is convenient, simple, yet, complex in its integrative applications. Think about how Social Media confirms entire transcripts of a conversation, details data-laden Excel sheets, and transmits photos, films, movies and YouTube clips in the blink of an eye. Indeed, all of these social interactions are not only used at a pace that is unfathomable, there arrive at their destinations with an unspoken, but entirely understood expectation of instant confirmations, replies and some immediate manner of acknowledgement from the recipient.

Imagine how many of us come from a time, not that long ago, really, of unheard and unanswered phone calls. We remember living in house that had a working telephone but before the home-based answering machine. In those simpler times, if we were out for the evening it was very possible our phone rang and rang as 5 very important phone calls were placed to our home phone. Our family returned home after our night out, everyone went to bed and somehow we were able to sleep all night, unaware of the missed calls, discovering what had occurred, only when we finally heard from the caller the next day.

Imagine, what it could be like again, with no sense of urgency, no nagging anxiety, no guilty feelings and no compelling narratives about why we did not react instantly. Today, people text someone in the middle of the day, and a minute later, they ask, “I just texted him and he didn’t reply. I wonder what’s happening!” Yet, I wonder, would we choose that past solitude and serenity over the social media craze that is part and parcel of every waking . . . and sleeping moment of our day? Probably, not.

It’s how we connect, communicate, survive and thrive. While some, often in the generations older than the Millennials and iGeneration, describe social media chat rooms as parties with stenographers, recording everyone’s comment forever, fearing the weight of permanency in these media sources. On the other hand, youngsters who jump from one media outlet to another faster than the adults can visualize, are aware but unshaken by the permanency factor.

Adults in our society, who may not even know the multiple names or functions of the most popular social media apps- Emojis, Dubsmash, Snapchats, Instagram, Vine, Pinterst, YikYak, Kik, Shots, Hyper, Bebo almost always begin every conversation about social media with these words of caution, “Remember, everything you post will be there forever!” Yet, what compels these younger generations of users is the immediacy, not the permanency.

The driving question with social media is: Does Immediacy Trump Permanency?

Does the glory of the connectivity, the intimacy, the excitement of media-rich messages outweigh the known and unknown, the obvious and hidden, the hilarious and hideous lurking within the social media networks- harassments, kidnappings, stalking, fraud and an arsenal of other demented transactions. The answer is that the younger demographics spotted around the globe, undoubtedly say, “Yes” or even more bolding, “Absolutely!” They know the dangers, yet they believe they are insulated from real risk and that these traps are entirely avoidable by the savvy-users that they are. And there is a hint of truth to that. However, as responsible adults-parents, teachers, advisors and siblings, friends or classmates, it behooves us all to enthusiastically acknowledge and embrace the glory of this social media revolution that is here. It is here to stay! It is constant, continual and invariably, this movement is picking up speed and taking up space in our lives as it frantically invades our world.

Yet, let’s be clear, it not for us to decide whether or not we embrace this unstoppable phenomenon. It is up to us to guide amazing turn of events in our communications across the world with wisdom, wit and wonderment. It is what it is and we are immersed in it, like it or not. So how do we best begin or continue to orchestrate the care, caution and the culture of safety. We do it with sensible safe guards- public awareness of current and emerging risks, personal conversations to build trust and open lines of communication and by creating cultures of collaboration, caring about others, and celebrating norms of alerting those who can help when help is needed. It’s okay to tell. In fact, it’s okay to tell when we need to tell, using any form of social media. Even the phone is okay. Aunt Dolly might even say, “When you choose to call for help, I know you care about someone dear.

Readiness for Real World Challenges: If Not Us, Who?

Readiness for Real World Challenges is Real! It’s Not an Option! It’s Our Mission!

“Everywhere I go I see way too much scaffolded and prompted teaching – through twelfth grade
Transfer means, you have to be able, on your own, to size up when to use what you previously learned,
 i.e. analyze the challenge, and judge what to do, mindful of a repertoire of prior learnings; 
then, implement a purposeful move, and assess its effect.” Grant Wiggins

Readiness for Real World Challenges!
If Not Us, Who?
To say the words, “Our goal is College and Career Readiness” is not enough. 
It is not just something we talk about and test about and fret about. It’s our challenge!
If Not Us, Who?
School leaders must create a sense of urgency, not for higher test scores, but for
students equipped with the wherewith all to succeed against all adversities; to win.
If Not Us, Who?
School is the last stop before the Independent years set in. It’s up to us to develop
academic proficiencies, as well as student confidence, independence, student agency. 
If Not Us, Who?
Leadership teams learn how to support teachers in their important work at this annual,
conference, teaching teachers how to prepare our kids for the test of life, Not just for the test.
If Not us, Who?
If your school is on the brink of greatness, if your teachers are ready, willing and able,
sign on for RFA  Conference, Staff Room to Classroom: Think 21st Century Challenges.
If Not Us, Who?
Come to The Lodge at Santa Fe, February 20,21,22 2017 and begin a whirlwind three days
of thoughtful team explorations of the NEXT STEPS to become that School of Greatness.
If Not Us, Who?
If you believe the words, If not us, who? you know the journey ahead is paramount for success.
It’s time to rally the forces that make things happen in your school to network within this Think Tank .
FIND OUT MORE    Follow the Link
CALL Robin Fogarty & Associates 800.213.9246
Mark the Calendar and Make the Commitment!
YOU WILL NOT Regret the Time, Money and Effort!
It’s a Game-Changing 3 day happening