Figure 1 The metacognitive regulation cycle from Education Endowment Foundation, A Guide to Metacognition and self-regulated learning
However, most children will not spontaneously develop the tools and strategies they need for effective learning. Developing key metacognitive strategies requires explicit instruction from their teachers and, ideally, supported by parents. The idea is to combine the teacher’s direct input with specific questioning and feedback.
At home, you can help to facilitate what we do in the class by using questions for each step of the learning process. These sorts of questions are used every day by teachers to help prompt independent thinking and guide children through the metacognitive steps. They can easily be applied at home when studying or working through any task.
‘What resources do I need to carry out this task?’
‘Have I done something similar before and was it successful?’
‘Where do I start?’
‘Am I doing well?’
‘Do I need any different techniques or strategies to improve?’
’Am I finding this challenging?’
‘Is there anything I need to stop and change to improve?’
‘How did I do?’
‘Did the strategy I chose work?’
‘How would I do it differently next time?’
During the new academic year, if children are working on assignments, they can apply this process and use these questions to help them regulate their learning. The act of planning for learning, monitoring progress, and evaluating is a powerful learning habit to develop, and one that can make all the difference in preparing pupils for a world where their ability to think for themselves is becoming increasingly vital.