Richard Salt's contribution to Metacognition

Updated: Dec 3, 2018

EEF Blog: Making Sense of Metacognition

Alex Quigley, English teacher and Director of Huntington Research School, explores how schools can use the latest EEF guidance report, Metacognition and self-regulated learning'...

In a couple of weeks, year 6 pupils will be sitting down to SATs examinations and in secondary schools, A Level and GCSE exams will start in earnest. Teachers everywhere are concentrating upon supporting our pupils to do their very best in challenging circumstances.

Every teacher knows that the seeds of examination success are sown far in advance of the frenzied exam run-in. Like flowers in bloom, all the hard work is done preparing the ground months, even years, in advance. And yet, we have to grapple with helping pupils learn in the long-term, whilst helping them to make good decisions now – the final weeks before exams – and under the pressure of the exam hall.

Of course, we have to teach the vital knowledge and understanding of our subject domains, but as we do so, we should also train our pupils to better plan, monitor and evaluate their own learning, so that when face situations like sitting down and staring at a blank exam paper, they can apply their learning with success. What proves a timely help for teachers is the well-known, but less well understood concept of: ‘metacognition and self-regulation’.

The  ‘metacognition and self-regulation’ strand of the Sutton Trust-EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit has been accessed over 120,000 times. Clearly, there is a hunger to know more about metacognition than the well-used, but obviously limited, definition of it as ‘thinking about thinking’.

The EEF's new Metacognition and self-regulated learning: guidance report aims to make the research evidence on metacognition accessible and understood, as well as offering solutions to age-old problems like helping our pupils to prepare for exams, along with tackling an array of learning challenges, in the classroom and beyond.

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