At Eaton Park Academy, our staff have a sound understanding of how our children learn best and we are determined as a school to develop our children’s thinking skills and how they use these skills to learn. Ensuring that our children leave us with a secure understanding of how they learn and can call upon a bank of strategies to support them is integral to us to support their learning behaviours and strategies.

What is metacognition?

Research carried out by The Educational Endowment Foundation’s (EEF) on Metacognition underpins our thinking in school. Metacognition is defined as not simply “thinking about thinking”; it is much more complex than this.

https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/education-evidence/guidance-reports/metacognition

Metacognition is actively monitoring one’s own learning and, based on this monitoring, making changes to one’s own learning behaviours and strategies. A metacognitive approach typically focuses on allowing the learner to take control of their learning; however, our staff have a fundamental role in this in ensuring our children develop their own metacognitive skills. For our pupils to become metacognitive, self-regulated learners, we must:

  • Set clear learning objectives.
  • Demonstrate and monitor pupils’ metacognitive strategies.
  • Continually prompt and encourage our pupils along the way.

Metacognitive skills are developed from an early age, as early as EYFS, and children are encouraged to plan, monitor, evaluate and make changes to their own learning behaviours.

Research demonstrates that metacognition must be explicitly taught; at Eaton Park, we recognise they are not innate skills and our children need lots of support from the teacher if they are to develop these skills. Our teachers have made children aware of what metacognition is and model the skills explicitly so that children can learn them for themselves. We model being metacognitive through the context of the lesson rather than stand-alone teaching as research supports this approach.

We use a seven-step guide when teaching metacognition in school:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We believe there are crucial strategies to use in the classroom that are conducive to effective metacognition:

  • Staff modelling by verballing their own thinking e.g., what do I know about problems like this?
  • Setting appropriate challenge to allow children to develop and progress their knowledge, but ensuring they do not hit cognitive overload (where children try to hold too much information in the working memory and thinking fails)
  • Explicit instruction/modelling
  • Actively promoting and developing metacognitive talk

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