Portfolios Part 3: Portfolios in the Humanities and Social Studies

   Self reflection is central to learning. We write comments on student papers so hopefully students can look at them can think about the work they did. (By the way, unless you are intentional about making students reflect on their learning, students likely won't. If you don't believe me, ask students if they read comments on papers. More than half  will tell you they don't.) The fancy word for this is meta-cognition, which is basically thinking about one's own thinking. Some suggest that this self-awareness is ultimately what makes us homo sapiens. We should do all we can to activate this in our students. Self-awareness about one's learning leads to better learning. Some studies suggest that this tool is most developed between the ages of 12-15. Thus, this is a the perfect time to teach meta-cognitive skills.