How do you help students improve their self awareness? According to the Sutton Trust, teaching students meta-cognitive skills has "consistently high levels of impact" for pupil premium students. Alex Quigley of Huntington School recently wrote a blog suggesting that these skills might be some of the most important for students towards learning with a growth mindset. So what does the science say about how to improve your self-awareness? What are the three cheapest, quickest and simplest ways of improving your meta-cognition?
Automatic Negative Thoughts
We all have Automatic Negative Thoughts, or ANTs as we like to call them. These ANTs give a voice to your fears, doubts and worries. If left unchecked, this can reduce persistence and concentration, as well as increasing stress. The better your students are at spotting their ANTs, the easier it is to crush them.
This got us wondering: what does the world of science or sport know about improving self-awareness? To get the process started, all you need are some paperclips, a pen and paper and a rubber band:
Self Awareness Tips
- Paper Clips - Start the day with 50 paperclips in their right hand pocket. Each time they have an ANT, move a paper clip to their left pocket. Finish the day by adding up how many paperclips are in their left pocket. This will increase their self-awareness.
- ANTs Diary - The same researchers from the paper clip experiment found that writing down each time you have a negative thought increased meta-cognition. This has the added bonus of being able to analyse where and when these ANTs occured.
- Wear a wristband - Each time they have an ANT, gently snap the band. This physical cue will act as a reminder and will help them become more aware of their ANTs. This is a technique that is used by many elite athletes around the world.
For more info and research on the subject, check out our page How to Improve Metacognition.