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Joshua Cox
Joshua Cox

€?I Used To Think That Awareness Was The Solution ##VERIFIED##



How do children gain a deeper understanding of how they think, feel, and act so that they can improve their learning and develop meaningful relationships? Since antiquity, philosophers have been intrigued with how human beings develop self-awareness -- the ability to examine and understand who we are relative to the world around us. Today, research not only shows that self-awareness evolves during childhood, but also that its development is linked to metacognitive processes of the brain.




“I Used To Think That Awareness Was The Solution



Most teachers know that if students reflect on how they learn, they become better learners. For example, some students may think and process information best in a quiet library, while others may focus better surrounded by familiar noise or music. Learning strategies that work for math may be different from those applied in the study of a foreign language. For some, it takes more time to understand biology than chemistry. With greater awareness of how they acquire knowledge, students learn to regulate their behavior to optimize learning. They begin to see how their strengths and weaknesses affect how they perform. The ability to think about one's thinking is what neuroscientists call metacognition. As students' metacognitive abilities increase, research suggests they also achieve at higher levels.


At a recent international workshop, philosophers and neuroscientists gathered to discuss self-awareness and how it is linked to metacognition. Scientists believe that self-awareness, associated with the paralimbic network of the brain, serves as a "tool for monitoring and controlling our behavior and adjusting our beliefs of the world, not only within ourselves, but, importantly, between individuals." This higher-order thinking strategy actually changes the structure of the brain, making it more flexible and open to even greater learning.


Self-awareness plays a critical role in improved learning because it helps students become more efficient at focusing on what they still need to learn. The ability to think about one's thinking increases with age. Research shows that most growth of metacognitive ability happens between ages 12 and 15 (PDF, 199KB). When teachers cultivate students' abilities to reflect on, monitor, and evaluate their learning strategies, young people become more self-reliant, flexible, and productive. Students improve their capacity to weigh choices and evaluate options, particularly when answers are not obvious. When students have difficulty understanding, they rely on reflective strategies to recognize their difficulties and attempt to rectify them. Improving metacognitive strategies related to students' schoolwork also provides young people with tools to reflect and grow in their emotional and social lives.


The beliefs that students adopt about learning and their own brains will affect their performance. Research shows that when students develop a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset, they are more likely to engage in reflective thinking about how they learn and grow. Teaching kids about the science of metacognition can be an empowering tool, helping students to understand how they can literally grow their own brains.


The act of being confused and identifying one's lack of understanding is an important part of developing self-awareness. Take time at the end of a challenging class to ask, "What was most confusing about the material we explored today?" This not only jumpstarts metacognitive processing, but also creates a classroom culture that acknowledges confusion as an integral part of learning.


One way to help students monitor their own thinking is through the use of personal learning journals. Assign weekly questions that help students reflect on how rather than what they learned. Questions might include:


A "wrapper" is a short intervention that surrounds an existing activity and integrates a metacognitive practice. Before a lecture, for example, give a few tips about active listening. Following the lecture, ask students to write down three key ideas from the lecture. Afterward, share what you believe to be the three key ideas and ask students to self-check how closely theirs matched your intended goals. When used often, this activity not only increases learning, but also improves metacognitive monitoring skills.


Research shows that students use lower-level thinking skills to prepare for multiple-choice exams, and higher-level metacognitive skills to prepare for essay exams. While it is less time consuming to grade multiple-choice questions, even the addition of several short essay questions can improve the way students reflect on their learning to prepare for test taking.


Reflexivity is the metacognitive process of becoming aware of our biases -- prejudices that get in the way of healthy development. Teachers can create a classroom culture for deeper learning and reflexivity by encouraging dialogue that challenges human and societal biases. When students engage in conversations or write essays on biases and moral dilemmas related to politics, wealth, racism, poverty, justice, liberty, etc., they learn to "think about their own thinking." They begin to challenge their own biases and become more flexible and adaptive thinkers.


Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week is a week-long campaign in the middle of Cybersecurity Awareness Month focused on raising awareness around cybersecurity job opportunities and how building a cyber workforce enhances our nation's security. Hosted by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), this week runs from October 17-22 this year.


Try think-pair-share for math problems with more than one correct answer, such as estimation, patterns, and logic. This strategy can also be used when students are deciding how to approach a math problem.


Overall, you should understand that these stages are different modes which contribute to the entire design project, rather than sequential steps. Your goal throughout is to gain the deepest understanding of the users and what their ideal solution/product would be.


Design thinking is a non-linear, iterative process that can have anywhere from three to seven phases, depending on whom you talk to. We focus on the five-stage design thinking model proposed by the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford (the d.school) because they are world-renowned for the way they teach and apply design thinking.


Designers or evaluators rigorously test the complete product using the best solutions identified in the Prototype stage. This is the final stage of the five-stage model; however, in an iterative process such as design thinking, the results generated are often used to redefine one or more further problems. This increased level of understanding may help you investigate the conditions of use and how people think, behave and feel towards the product, and even lead you to loop back to a previous stage in the design thinking process. You can then proceed with further iterations and make alterations and refinements to rule out alternative solutions. The ultimate goal is to get as deep an understanding of the product and its users as possible.


The design thinking process should not be seen as a concrete and inflexible approach to design; the component stages identified should serve as a guide to the activities you carry out. The stages might be switched, conducted concurrently or repeated several times to gain the most informative insights about your users, expand the solution space and hone in on innovative solutions.


This is one of the main benefits of the five-stage model. Knowledge acquired in the latter stages of the process can inform repeats of earlier stages. Information is continually used to inform the understanding of the problem and solution spaces, and to redefine the problem itself. This creates a perpetual loop, in which the designers continue to gain new insights, develop new ways to view the product (or service) and its possible uses and develop a far more profound understanding of their real users and the problems they face.


Design thinking is an iterative, non-linear process which focuses on a collaboration between designers and users. It brings innovative solutions to life based on how real users think, feel and behave.


The overall goal of this design thinking course is to help you design better products, services, processes, strategies, spaces, architecture, and experiences. Design thinking helps you and your team develop practical and innovative solutions for your problems. It is a human-focused, prototype-driven, innovative design process. Through this course, you will develop a solid understanding of the fundamental phases and methods in design thinking, and you will learn how to implement your newfound knowledge in your professional work life. We will give you lots of examples; we will go into case studies, videos, and other useful material, all of which will help you dive further into design thinking. In fact, this course also includes exclusive video content that we've produced in partnership with design leaders like Alan Dix, William Hudson and Frank Spillers!


Your IT team is small and usually overloaded. Users are the source of all kinds of problems, including malware infections. You need a security awareness training program that can be deployed in minutes, protects your network and actually starts saving you time.


Your customers have a major security problem: their users are victims of social engineering attacks. KnowBe4's security awareness training platform provides a great way to manage that problem and provides you with great ROI for both you and your customers.


Although knowing your own feelings may sound simple, many people ignore or try to sedate strong emotions like anger, sadness, and fear. Your ability to handle conflict, however, depends on being connected to these feelings. If you're afraid of strong emotions or if you insist on finding solutions that are strictly rational, your ability to face and resolve differences will be limited.


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