The bad news: Our education system often skips one of them. This is problematic, given that your ability to learn is such a huge predictor of success in life, from achieving in academics to getting ahead at work. To succeed over the long term, you have to master skill after skill

"Parents and educators are pretty good at imparting the first kind of knowledge," shares psychology writer Annie Murphy Paul . "We're comfortable talking about concrete information: names, dates, numbers, facts. But the guidance we offer on the act of learning itself — the 'metacognitive' aspects of learning — is more hit-or-miss, and it shows."

To wit, education research shows that low-achieving students have "substantial deficits " in their understanding of the cognitive strategies that allow people to learn well. This, Paul says , suggests that part of the reason students perform poorly is that they don't know a lot about how learning actually works. 


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