Accelerating Pupil Progress by Applying the Principles of Metacognition


We are at a point in time when there are new ideas published every day with claims about ‘best practice’ in the classroom. In many ways, this is an amazing place to be and an indication that the profession is taking ownership of its destiny. Social media has made the sharing of ideas so easy and teachers have access to suggestions from around the world.

At the same time as being really exciting, this comes with a possible danger. The raft of ideas that are available and badged as ‘best practice’ are, more often than not, untested in a rigorous or valid way. This means that, at its worse, teachers could be implementing practices that do not actually impact. Worse still, having a negative impact on learning and progress. In essence, we can get hooked by ‘educational fads’ with little or no underlying evidence.

This publication is predicated on something slightly different than ‘best practice’. It comes from a place of ‘effective practice’. In other words, practice that makes a difference. Metacognition is not an instantly easy concept to understand, but when understood and actively used, is a hugely powerful vehicle for helping to unlock learning and progress. At its simplest, metacognition is the ability to reflect on and think about your own learning more explicitly.

In essence, metacognition has two key elements:

  • The awareness and recognition of how you are learning and progressing;
  • The ability to self-regulate your behaviour as a result of your awareness.

This publication provides clarity about the main principles of metacognition but also provides practical examples of what metacognition looks like in practice, covering the teaching of mathematics, English and the broader curriculum. It also has a section focusing on metacognition and early years’ practice.

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