What is Metacognition?

Metacognition refers to a pupil’s ability to be aware of what they’re thinking about and then choose helpful thought processes and strategies to help them learn.

At the beginning of this year, we started an exciting three year metacognition programme in Valley Gardens Middle, across all subjects and in conjunction with North Tyneside Learning Trust. Developing resilient, independent learners is hugely important as it boosts pupils’ chances of doing their best both in school and in life. Metacognition is the approach that will support us with this priority because research suggests that it is one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to help students:

  • improve their learning;
  • improve independent learning;
  • reflect and learn from previous mistakes;
  • choose effective revision strategies;
  • enhance motivation; and 
  • improve academic performance.

Staff professional development has and continues to focus on effective ways to embed metacognitive strategies and particularly metacognitive talk into the classroom. 

This week, all pupils have been introduced to the language and meaning of the word metacognition with their form teachers and we are currently trialling a range of projects in lessons to explore and embed positive learning habits.

We encourage parents to encourage their children to think and do for themselves, where possible, emphasise that sometimes not getting things right first time, is a necessary part of learning; and try to encourage your children to replace ‘I cannot do it’ with ‘I cannot do it yet!’ Sometimes as parents we think we are helping or that it would be quicker for us to do it for them, but actually, that is not helping them to become independent thinkers. If we can both work together on these strategies, we stand a far greater chance of success.

Please talk to your children about what their understanding of metacognition is at this point, its benefits and see if you notice improvements in their awareness of their own thinking and resilience as the year goes on.