Metacognition and self-regulation approaches aim to help pupils think about their own learning more explicitly, often by teaching them specific strategies for planning, monitoring and evaluating their learning. Interventions are usually designed to give pupils a repertoire of strategies to choose from and the skills to select the most suitable strategy for a given learning task.
Self-regulated learning can be broken into three essential components:
A number of systematic reviews and meta-analyses have consistently found strategies related to metacognition and self-regulation to have large positive impacts. Most studies have looked at the impact on English or mathematics, though there is some evidence from other subject areas like science, suggesting that the approach is likely to be widely applicable.
The approaches that have been tested tend to involve applying self-regulation strategies to specific tasks involving subject knowledge, rather than learning generic ‘thinking skills’.
Overall, costs are estimated as very low. Many studies report the benefits of professional development for teachers, and using an inquiry approach where teachers actively evaluate strategies and approaches as they learn to use them in their teaching.
Before you implement this strategy in your learning environment, consider the following:
Which explicit strategies can you teach your pupils to help them plan, monitor, and evaluate specific aspects of their learning?
How can you give them opportunities to use these strategies with support, and then independently?
How can you ensure you set an appropriate level of challenge to develop pupils’ self-regulation and metacognition in relation to specific learning tasks?
In the classroom, how can you promote and develop metacognitive talk related to your lesson objectives?
What professional development is needed to develop your knowledge and understanding of these approaches? Have you considered professional development interventions which have been shown to have an impact in other schools?