The Federation of Farnham and Rickling Primary Schools

Through faith and nurture, we thrive. ‘Life in all its fullness.’ JOHN 10:10

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Metacognition - A Guide for Parents

What is metacognition?

'thinking about thinking'

It is the knowledge and understanding of what we know and how we think, including the ability to regulate our thinking as we work on a task.


Why is metacognition important?

Research has shown that metacognition ….

  • Shapes children to become active learners rather than passive learners.
  • Gives children ownership, control and greater motivation over their learning.
  • Enables children to become aware of the learning process and how they learn.
  • Helps to promote thinking and deeper learning/mastery skills.

How can we encourage metacognition?

To support our children in becoming more meta, our questions should be:

  • Open-ended – We need to give children some space to reflect on their thinking.

        'Can you tell me more about why you think that?’

  • Non-blaming – It can be hard to stay open when children are acting out, but asking them to think about their behaviour can help them to learn about difficult situations in a better way: ‘Why do you think you got so upset when that happened?’
  • Solution-focused – We need to encourage children to think about how they can use their understanding to change things in the future: ‘How could you handle that differently next time?’
  • Process-orientated – We need to ask questions that will help children to get a better idea of how their thought processes work: ‘How will you know when you have finished?’

How are we using metacognition in the classroom?

The ‘Meta Walk’ is used throughout everyday teaching. A four-stage process: ‘Me’, ‘Plan’, ‘Do’ and ‘Review’ is consistently used throughout the school to support children in developing and using metacognitive skills.

How meta is our classroom?

We want our children to be able to do the following things:

  • Explain what a good learner does.
  • Explain how they learn best.
  • Explain what they find difficult in lessons.
  • Start tasks on their own.
  • Be able to plan how they will approach a task.
  • Have the strategies to self-check during tasks.
  • Be able to evaluate their progress towards a goal.
  • Explain how they feel about working on their own.