Samenvatting

METACOGNITION: ‘KNOW THYSELF’
M.V.J. VEENMAN
In this paper, it is argued that metacognition prevents human behavior from merely being controlled by unconscious fast decisions of the brain. Metacognition pertains to the conscious knowledge about and intentional regulation of one’s cognitive system. Metacognitive skills for monitoring and controlling one’s learning processes are highly predictive of school performance, but also allow for sustained learning and performance into adulthood. Although elementary forms of planning and monitoring may already be observed in very young children, steady growth of metacognitive skills occurs from late elementary school unto late adolescence. Additionally, a transition in metacognitive skills from being rather domain-specific to a general repertoire occurs at the age of 14. Learners from all ages, however, substantially vary from being poor to highly profi cient in the execution of metacognitive skills. Even intellectually gifted students may suff er from poor metacognition. Conditions for eff ective instruction and training of metacognitive skills are discussed.


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Veel van ons alledaagse denken en handelen gaat automatisch en min of meer onbewust. De verwerving van nieuwe kennis en vaardigheden vereist evenwel aandacht, concentratie en moeite. Welke rol speelt metacognitie bij dat langzame denken? Volgens Marcel Veenman stelt metacognitie ons in staat te reflecteren op ons eigen gedrag om daar zo weloverwogen richting aan te geven, zodat wij niet louter een speelbal zijn van het snelle denken in ons brein.

De laatste jaren wordt in de psychologie veel nadruk gelegd op de rol van het brein in menselijk gedrag. Sommige neuro-wetenschappers (Lamme, 2010; Swaab, 2010)815 stellen dat het gedrag (louter) wordt gestuurd door onbewuste beslissingen van het autonome brein. Bewustzijn wordt dan gereduceerd tot een epifenomeen, dus niet als de oorzaak van gedrag maar het gevolg van onbewuste beslissingen die het brein al eerder heeft genomen.

Dit extreme standpunt is echter even eenzijdig en onvruchtbaar als de aanname van de ultieme vrije wil. Natuurlijk dient de invloed van onbewuste processen op het gedrag niet te worden onderschat. Menselijk handelen wordt altijd beïnvloed en soms gedicteerd door emoties en diep verankerde gedragspatronen in het geheugen. Deelhandelingen bij het uitvoeren van complexe taken moeten geautomatiseerd worden om het proces soepel te laten verlopen, zonder vertraging van bewuste verwerking. Denk aan het decoderen van letters tijdens het lezen van tekst. Kahneman (2011)6 refereert aan dit geautomatiseerd,

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