Best Practice

Metacognition in the primary classroom

Metacognitive strategies can empower even the youngest children to think about how they are learning and equip them to learn new tasks. Jane Downes explains

With the autumn term under way, now is a good time to help pupils make a flying start to the year by developing positive learning behaviours. One approach which is rapidly gaining momentum in the education world is metacognition, the method which enables learners to plan, monitor and evaluate their own learning.

There are already signs that metacognition can support children from all backgrounds in making progress. A study (Classick et al, 2021) comparing children from disadvantaged backgrounds who do well with those who do not, found that high-achieving disadvantaged pupils often used metacognitive strategies.

Although research often explores metacognition in secondary-age pupils, there is an argument that children are never too young to develop techniques which help them become more independent learners and to have more control over their learning

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