The EEF and Implementation: Metacognition and Self-regulated Learning
In this article, we explain how the Thinking Matters approach follows the best research-informed strategies for the implementation of metacognition and self-regulated learning and how this relates to the EEF’s ‘Putting Evidence to Work -A School’s Guide to Implementation’.
Working with Thinking Matters to develop Metacognition and Self-regulated Learning:
For almost 20 years, Thinking Matters has worked with schools to develop metacognitive and self-regulated learning. The approach we take is born from expertise and experience in helping schools visualise, plan and implement effective strategies to grow the metacognition and self-regulated capacity of young people across the UK and abroad.
An uncomfortable truth: affecting whole school change which leads to lasting improvement is not easy. Implementation plans are often conducted with the best of intentions but are prone to ‘fade’ and can lose momentum, often as a result of competing priorities. Successful change programmes not only depend on the ‘what’ but also the ‘how’; a considered and practical approach that manifests itself over time into daily practice. With careful planning and meaningful steps in delivery, the Thinking Matters approach has a demonstrable impact for schools who wish to develop metacognition and self-regulated learning.
Metacognitive tools, strategies and resources for impactful implementation
Thinking Matters provides in-depth consultancy and training for schools looking to develop a lasting culture of metacognition and self-regulated learning. Expert TM consultants, who are themselves current or former school leaders, support schools in establishing change programmes that lead to transformative improvements in metacognitive pedagogy and practice, with tangible benefits for both learners and staff. Many schools go on to become an accredited Thinking School with the University of Exeter.
At Thinking Matters we provide a fully tailored programme of implementation that is designed to help schools to become a Thinking School, should they wish to take this route. What is a Thinking School?
Here, we describe the Thinking Matters approach to implementation and how this is mirrored in the EEF recommendations.
1. Foundations for Good Implementation
Working closely with senior leaders, we help to identify the school’s vision for their learners; the metacognitive skillsets and learning dispositions that are critical to future success.
Consideration is given to how this will complement existing school priorities and how this can become a meaningful strand within the school’s development plan and critically, how appropriate time and resource are allocated to see the process through to completion
The consultant provides detailed advice on the selection of the ‘Drive Team’: the staff leadership group drawn from across the school, tasked with facilitating whole-school change over time.
Thinking Matters follow a 'Training of Trainers' model for Multi-Academy Trusts, federations and school clusters. Representatives from each of the participating schools are trained in the format and content of the programme, so that they are fully equipped to disseminate this to the Drive Teams within their own settings. The consultant provides ongoing support for the group and also with each individual school.
2. Foundations for Good Implementation
Informed by implementation science, we help schools form a ‘Drive Team’- a selected group of individuals from across the school or trust who will help embed metacognitive tools and strategies. We help school leaders look in depth at the considerations senior members will need to address, including the climate and conditions in which the Drive Team will operate.
Early in the programme, we work with the Drive Team on defining the school’s metacognitive learner (or ‘meta-learner’) and consider the steps required to achieve this. In doing so, we start to shape the school’s Thinking School action plan. As part of this process, we explore:
Metacognition and self-regulation and the evidence of what works
Establishing the initial setting and starting points
Baselining activities and methods for monitoring progress
Desirable metacognitive strategies and tools
The role of the Drive Team as agents of change
Metacognitive strategies, tools and training plans are identified within the action plan and 'robust monitoring and evaluation strategies are formalised to enable the recording of evidence of progress and impact.
Explicit training is provided for the Drive Team and for the whole staff, tailored to the needs of the school to help build knowledge and understanding around the Science and Language of Learning and the principles of metacognitive, self-regulated learning.
The Drive Team will have identified the most effective strategies that will lead to lasting impact. In depth training is provided for these tools and strategies. The training is designed with implementation in mind- with time built in for pedagogical coaching, practice, rehearsal and review between training events.
Facilitated by the Drive Team and with unlimited support from the TM consultant, training includes:
Understanding thinking processes
Embedding metacognitive tools and strategies
Developing the language of learning for staff and students
Monitoring and evaluating impact
A critical element of successful implementation is sustainability over time. With this in mind, Thinking Matters provide additional support for schools and Drive Teams. This includes membership of the Thinking School Network.
continued access to the most recent research and developments in metacognition,
case studies and best practice from member schools,
discounts on further training and consultancy
TSN national and regional events.
new-staff induction training packages for Thinking Schools
access to software and resources to support Thinking School Accreditation
continued access to digital resources and apps to support students develop as independent learners.
The Thinking Schools Network (TSN) is a member driven organisation run by Thinking Matters where like-minded schools and practitioners from across the globe connect and facilitate the sharing of best practice.