Module Podcast

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Hi, my name is Douglas King, and welcome to the Flipped Tuition podcast. The podcast that helps you support effective learning at home. In this short podcast, we’re looking at metacognition. This is a huge area of research within education and has real potential to have positive outcomes on student achievement. Because it’s such a big area what we’ve looked at doing this week is to really condense the key information and the next five minutes, we’re really going to focus on the key areas that parents need to know about to help support effective learning at home.

Put simply, metacognition is thinking about thinking. It helps us use our prior knowledge and experience to plan and approach a task, monitor how that task is going and making changes where needed, and evaluating how well we’ve carried out that task.

Metacognition isn’t just relevant in education, we can apply it to all areas of our life whenever we’re carrying out a task, having the ability to take a metacognitive approach will usually lead to a better outcome.
It’s a really powerful approach that your son or daughter can use and it really helps and reflects on the best way to approach their learning and make accurate judgments about whether or not the approaches they use work. It also helps them to identify what they know or don’t know about certain subjects or topics.

And as they’re able to do this more effectively they can fully focus on the areas that they need to, to help get the grades that they’re capable of getting. Metacognitive strategies are best taught in the classroom quite clearly, that is what the research shows, but we feel that parents having an overview of what metacognition is can really help you support learning at home. Easiest thing to do is really look at an example of how a metacognitive approach could be applied to learning at home.

So if we think about your son or daughter being given an essay question to complete for homework; If they were taking a metacognitive approach, the first stage for them to look at would be the planning. They should consider how well they know the task and they may ask themselves questions like, have I done this type of question before? Do I have all of the knowledge I need to complete the question? And how long do I have to complete this? Once they’ve thought about the task, they may want to think about the strategies they can use to then help them answer the question.

So in the planning, they may ask themselves about strategies they’ve been taught in lessons about how sets essays out, maybe strategies they’ve been taught about how to fully develop points in essays, and they may also want to think about maybe examples or terminology they can include to make their response the highest quality it can be.

The last part of the planning stage is looking at their knowledge of themselves and consider any issues that may come up. It may be as simple as their phone being a distraction and turning it off or putting it in another room if they know that’s a problem.

They may know that they can lose focus sometimes, so they might decide to put a time limit on how long they need to spend on the task. Sometimes it might be as simple as where they are doing the task, if they do it in a area of the house has lots of distractions and they know they’re easily distracted they may go somewhere else to do it. So once they’ve considered the task, the strategies and their knowledge about themselves, they can then start to think about actually approaching the question. Once they’ve started to write their response, they should really build in some monitoring time before they finish. What we find is that sometimes students don’t do this and they can rush through and get to the end and evaluate then rather than look at the monitoring aspect of how well they’re doing. And that’s really, really important. So a metacognitive approach here would mean that they may stop after each paragraph and reread what they’ve written to make sure that it’s covering the requirements of the question.

They might want to proofread it to make sure it’s making sense to make sure the punctuation is correct. And maybe look at the terminology that they’re using are examples that they’re using. They might also look at how long they’ve got to complete the task as well. And all of those things would come under the monitoring part of taking the metacognitive approach. And then the last part is the evaluation, which is quite often the bit that students come to, but we need to make sure that it’s done properly. So once they finished their response, they may read through it as a bit of a final check, and that would be part of an evaluation. They may have a mark scheme they can use to look at their responses in relation to what an examiner will be looking for, or it could be marked by a teacher. Whatever the approach they use for evaluation, the key aspect is that students understand why they picked up or dropped marks so they can keep on doing the good bits and address the areas that they need to improve. That, in essence, is what metacognitive approach is all about. It’s about reflecting on the tasks that we’re doing, making changes where we need to and really, really being clear on what we know works and addressing areas that don’t work. We appreciate that metacognition is a really big area, and the follow up activities on our website helps to explain the example we’ve just been through in a more visual way, along with some other simple ways that you can help your son or daughter to take a metacognitive approach to their learning.

We hope you found this useful. Next week, we’re going to look at the power hour, which is a great and simple light to help your son or daughter use their study time as effectively as possible. Thanks for listening.