Saturday, February 27, 2010

Accurate Appraisal of our Skills

Sometimes we have skills and don't know it. We underestimate what we know and can do, leaving us feeling insecure.

Sometimes we don't have the skills and don't know it!

An excellent teacher I know and love sent an article to me that I thought you might enjoy, here is the abstract:

Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments
Justin Kruger and David Dunning, Cornell University

"People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities."

So if we leave a Professional Development thinking, "Wow, I didn't know as much as I thought I did," then our metacognitive competence is improving!

Love this quote from the article:
"It is one of the essential features of such incompetence that the person so afflicted is incapable of knowing that he is incompetent. To have such knowledge would already be to remedy a good portion of the offense. (Miller, 1993, p. 4)"

There is no cost to not knowing if we are willing to ask for help or consultation. There is a cost to not knowing and not asking for help/consultation. Besides our own, who else's opportunities are we limiting when we don't know that we don't know?

Education does not make us educable. It is our awareness of being unfinished that makes us educable.
-Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom

Are you learning with a beginner's mind (open and curious) or do you already know it all?

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