Metacognitive strategies are what you design to monitor your progress related to your learning and the tasks at hand. It is a mechanism for controlling your thinking activities and to ensure you are meeting your goals. Metacognitive strategies for learning a new language can include the following:
- monitoring whether you understand the language lessons;
- recognizing when you fail to comprehend information communicated to you in the new language;
- identifying strategies that help you to improve your comprehension;
- adjusting your pace for learning the information (for example, studying for 2 hours, rather than 1 hour, every day);
- maintaining the attitude necessary to ensure you complete the lessons in a timely manner;
- creating a check-in system at the end of each week to make certain you understand what you have learned.
As one business manager of a Fortune 300 company told me,
Understanding cultural strategic thinking is like this: When I work with people of different cultures, this is a framework and approach to help me understand how I think when I work with them. It helps me to recognize the cultural experiences I’ve had, and to identify preconceived notions I might have about their culture, whether it’s race/ethnicity, social culture, age group— you name it. Cultural strategic thinking forces me to create experiences and new learning that helps me to accomplish my objectives as a global manager. 1
Individuals like this leader are good at applying strategies that focus their attention on the goal at hand. They search for, and derive meaning from, cultural interactions and situations, and they adapt themselves to the situation when things do not pan out as they expected. Culturally intelligent leaders also monitor and direct their own learning processes. They have established a high motivation for learning the metacognitive process, either because they know it is a benefit or because others tell them it is beneficial to them.
Knowledge of factual information and basic skills provides a foundation for developing metacognition. Metacognition enables leaders to master information and solve problems more easily. When a leader has mastered the basic skills needed for intercultural interactions, they can actively engage in the interaction because they do not have to pay attention to the other dynamics and demands of the situation. Culturally intelligent leaders are able to practice metacognition, and they are not afraid to use it in their everyday life.
For those who lack basic intercultural skills, it is more difficult for them to engage in the interaction. They are more occupied with finding the “right information,” the “right skills,” and the “right facts” needed to solve the problem. In such situations, these types of leaders spend little time developing their metacognitive skills, and the result is likely an inefficient solution to a problem. Developing a laundry list or checklist of do’s and don’ts will not assist leaders in improving their cultural intelligence.