Thursday, September 17, 2009

Aimee Frantzen - Metacognition

As a child I constantly struggled in most subject areas. In first grade I was diagnosed with ADHD showing severe signs of inattention and impulsivity and I was REALLY struggling in school. My first grade experience was horrible. The teacher told me I was dumb, and lazy (she was later fired for this) but it went on to affect my confidence in any learning endeavor I approached. Interestingly, language arts was an area that I did not struggle as much in. I kept up at the reading pace with the rest of my first grade class and I even enjoyed reading. Likely because I was read to often at home before bedtime and on the weekends by my father which was an even bigger treat. What is even more interesting is that, although my mother has no degree in education she often engaged me with questions about the story while reading - to this day I'm not really positive why she did, as most parents who read to their children just read, but she did. By actively involving me in the reading at very early ages this allowed me to self-regulate my own learning processes when reading on my own. It was second nature to question myself as I read in school and it never occurred to me that many individuals do not do so. However, this self-regulation strategy really aided in my learning.

Part of having ADHD means I have a difficult time paying attention, especially when reading for school - something that is not always exciting. However because I gained this skill early on where I could question myself throughout my reading I was able to really remember what it is I had read when I was all finished. Many children with ADHD could read a whole chapter and not be able to tell you anything that it was about. I believe this method in self-regulation has also contributed to my success in writing - writing has also always been one of my strong suits. I enjoy writing as I have a reflective personality but beyond that I believe I learned to be a good writer because I am constantly reflecting on other authors' styles of writing.

By engaging in these reflections discussed above I am able to reflect on my own thinking in a way that I can clearly explain it both orally and written. Being a reflective thinker means that I have a very easy time thinking about the reading material I encounter and therefor I reflect that much more deeply on my own writing. Organizationally because of my ADHD I was always put through very intensive training to benefit my poor organizational skills. For this reason I find myself to be almost obsessive about organizing my own thought processes both mentally and when putting them down on paper. When organizing my own thinking about certain concepts I take a schematic approach in which I set a layout of general ideas about certain concepts in my mind and I essentially scaffold by adding on to them when I come across new information. I realize this is how most people learn but here is where I am different: I have a difficult time retaining information when it comes in so my own self-reflection and regulation as I discussed earlier kicks in and immediately organizes the information in a way my brain can take it down. I believe everyone's mental processes are just slightly different and it is really important to find what works for you.

I believe as a future educator this idea is a good lesson to have in mind. It is important to explore and find out how the mental/thought processes of one's students work and helping a child to self-reflect and self-regulate is just the beginning.

1 comment:

  1. Aimee, I am really glad you wrote about your experiences with ADHD in the classroom, because I know many people who are impacted by ADHD as well, and it is interesting to read about how you kept yourself focused. I think you will have a great advantage in your classroom, because you know what you struggled with, what helped you, and how you can aid your students in their reading and writing skills.