Best Practice

Metacognition and self-regulation in the primary classroom

The explicit teaching of metacognition and self-regulation can bring a range of benefits, not least offering us a powerful tool for improving pupil behaviour, motivation and learning. Anoara Mughal – author of Think! Metacognition-powered primary teaching – offers tips and five concrete classroom strategies


What is metacognition and self-regulated learning?

Metacognition is commonly known as “thinking about thinking”. This sounds quite fuzzy and can be quite unhelpful. It may be useful to broaden the definition.

Flavell (1979) describes it as being the “interplay between person, task and strategy characteristics”, whereas another definition is that “metacognition encompasses motivation, cognition, emotional awareness and intelligence, managing behaviours, improved wellbeing, the development of human connections and relationships and much more. Everything is interrelated”, (Mughal, 2021).

A simpler and more useful definition of metacognition may be that it is a set of behaviours which helps you to manage, monitor and review your thinking.

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