How To Use Metacognition In The Classroom

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How to use metacognition in the classroom

Take a look into how metacognition can help you and your students better understand and develop their learning with the help of a former Head Teacher.

Former Head Teacher and SupplyWell’s Senior Business Development Manager Joe Mangan explores the idea of metacognition and how the practice of metacognitive and self-regulation teaching strategies can be beneficial in the classroom.

What is Metacognition?

Metacognition is a way of thinking and reflecting on your own thinking. It’s like being a detective and using clues to figure out how to learn things better. It helps you to understand and remember what you’ve learned, and then use that learning to inform your practice.

You can use metacognition to plan and organize your work, think before you act, or check if you are on the right track. It’s like giving yourself a pat on the back for all of your hard work and successes!

Using metacognition in teaching

Education Endowment Foundation research indicates that metacognitive and self-regulation teaching strategies can be high impact and support pupils to think explicitly about their own learning, often by teaching students a repertoire of specific strategies for planning, monitoring, and evaluating their learning which can be different for different tasks.

There is some evidence to suggest that disadvantaged students are less likely to use metacognitive strategies so explicit teaching of metacognitive and self-regulatory strategies could lead to such students practicing and using them in the future.

10 Principles of Instruction

Below is a brief outline of Rosenshine’s 10 ‘Principles of Instruction’ which should be used in everyday teaching.

1. Review prior learning at the start – spend about 8-10 minutes at the start of the lesson.

2. Introduce new learning in small steps – cognitive load theory explains that our working memory has limited capacity. Too much information at once will lead to overload which causes the learning process to slow.

3. Ask lots of questions – this is a powerful tool to enhance student learning and check understanding.

4. Modelling – demonstrations and worked examples are modelling techniques.

5. Guided practice – allow students enough time to ask questions, practice retrieval or ask any questions they may have. Students must rehearse any learned information; it is not enough to go through it once.

6. Check understanding – stop at certain intervals within the lesson to gauge what they understand and can do.

7. High success rate – by constantly monitoring student progress, teachers should be aiming for a success rate of around 80%. If students are consistently getting 90-100% on assessments the work is too easy.

8. Provide scaffolding for difficult tasks – scaffolding is when teachers gradually reduce the amount of support given as students begin to master the skill or concept. 

9. Encourage independent practice – Students should, at the appropriate point have an opportunity to complete tasks independently. By ‘over practicing’ students develop greater fluency.

10. Weekly and monthly reviews – spacing out reviews of prior learning over weekly or monthly timeframes until a certain level of mastery is achieved.

Practical Examples

Discover this further fantastic resource laying out practical examples of metacognition in the classroom based on Rosenshine’s Principals.

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