Cognitive Load & Metacognition

Seth Godin mentioned the term “cognitive load” recently on The Tim Ferriss Show.

His podcast is my new favorite, dethroning TED Radio Hour, On Being, HBR, & Knowledge@Wharton, and, yes, This American Life & Serial; however, I am still faithful to Tara Brach.

How do I have time to listen to all of these podcasts?

I don’t, but I do take road trips and binge. I also take advantage of what Neill deGrass calls my “interstitial time”- listen to the interview on HBR’s ideacast.

Yet in our digital age of ubiquitous connectivity and FOMO, I consider my own cognitive load — all the information, conversations, discussions — that occur in my day of living and working as an English teacher at a boarding school.

Sometimes, I think my brain cannot wire fast enough.

I wonder: what if… I read less? listened to less?

Maybe write and meditate more in order to clear out the white noise.

But there’s the internet to read. And Wikipedia to edit.

This weight. This cognitive load. It’s heavy.

It’s exhausting me. Crushing us under the cognitive load. And I wonder what the impact is on my students.

So I turn to Google and Wikipedia, of course.

As children grow older they develop superior basic processes and capacities.[41] They also develop metacognition, which helps them to understand their own cognitive activities.[41] Lastly, they gain greater content knowledge through their experiences.[41] These elements help reduce cognitive load in children as they develop.

So, what is metacognition?

Google the Habits of Mind, and you will find:

HABITS OF MIND (After Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick, Habits of Mind: A Developmental Series, Copyright © 2000)

5. Thinking about Thinking (Metacognition): Being aware of own thoughts, feelings, intentions and actions; Knowing what I do and say affects others; Willing to consider the impact of choices on myself and others.

Handout: 16 Habits of Mind PDF.

Cognitive load. Metacognition.

Something to think about…

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