Student Snippets


Learning about Learning (or rather, metalearning)

I saw a mug in the bathroom at Mt. Holyoke on Saturday that said: "Anything you can do we can do meta" and I've been chuckling to myself ever since. You see, the prefix "meta-" is something I hadn't really encountered before I came to library school and now I can't seem to get away from it. Librarians love it (and we aren't the only ones).

I'm going to do you a solid today and tell you what meta means and then make up some words with it just for fun.

The Google dictionary defines meta as "denoting something of a higher or second-order kind" but I actually like this one from Urban Dictionary better: "Meta means about the thing itself. It's seeing the thing from a higher perspective instead of from within the thing, like being self-aware."

The example you'll encounter most frequently in library school is metadata, which is essentially data about data. Right now in User Instruction we've been reading about metacognition, which is thinking about your own thinking. And since this week's readings are about learning theory, I've decided to call this "metalearning," or learning about learning. (Turns out meta learning is a real thing. I just googled it.)

I actually quite like learning more about how learning works, and I've realized that you don't have to study learning theory to learn more about learning. In fact, pursuing higher education is an excellent opportunity to learn more about how you learn; all you have to do is pay attention, reflect, and experiment a little. When I'm learning something new, I've found that I need some time and space to explore it on my own terms before I fully "grasp" a concept. After I've got that initial footing, then discussing or exploring it with other people helps flesh it out further. Finally I've got to put my new knowledge into practice to cement the learning. It's an iterative and non-linear process.

Anyway, here are some more meta- words that I've just come up with for kicks and giggles:

Meta-journaling: journaling about journaling

Meta-anxiety: anxiety about your anxiety (ooh this one's handy!)

Meta-requirements: requirements about requirements

Meta-excited: excited about your excitement

Meta-planning: planning your planning (bullet journals, anyone?)

Meta-arguing: arguing about arguing


P.S. Welcome new blogger Katie!!!

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