Thinking Schools and Metacognition Intent Statement
‘What to do when you don’t know what to do…..’
At William Bellamy we have recently embarked on a new journey in aspiring to become a Thinking School. We feel that this new approach will compliment the already established Nurture ethos at WBPS as well as work hand in hand with the Growth mindset culture embedded throughout the school. Additionally to this the Rights Respecting values that thread throughout combined with the recent introduction of the Thrive/Trauma informed approach will, we believe, equip pupils with the best formula to succeed. Our whole school intent is underpinned by ensuring that pupils are nurtured and emotionally ready to learn and develop- this is achieved through providing a happy, secure and stimulating environment in which every child matters and is valued and encouraged to achieve their full potential through the development of a love of learning and a desire to expand their knowledge.
In order to fulfil this, our aim is to ensure that every child has the necessary skills, attributes and tools to be successful in the next stage of their learning. We believe that by becoming a Thinking School and creating independent Metalearners we are equipping pupils with the lifelong skills they need to succeed.
What is a Thinking School?
A Thinking School takes a whole school approach to developing pupils’ cognitive capability and intelligent learning behaviours.
We are explicitly ‘thinking about thinking’ using an evidence based approach.
The experts say a Thinking School is…
“an educational community in which all members share a common commitment to giving regular careful thought to everything that takes place. This will involve both students and staff learning how to think reflectively, critically and creatively, and to employing these skills and techniques in the co-construction of a meaningful curriculum and associated activities. Successful outcomes will be reflected in student’s across a wide range of abilities demonstrating independent and co-operative learning skills, high levels of achievement and both enjoyment and satisfaction in learning. Benefits will be shown in ways in which all members of the community interact with and show consideration for each other and in the positive psychological well-being of both students and staff.” (Burden, 2006)
James Mannion offers further clarity by defining:
Metacognition as ‘monitoring and controlling what’s in your head’,
Self-regulation as ‘monitoring and controlling how you interact with your environment’, and Self-regulated learning as ‘the application of metacognition and self-regulation to learning’.
Why become a Thinking School- Research and Theory?
The Education Endowment Foundation Toolkit (EEF) ‘Metacognition and Self-Regulation Guidance Report’ defines metacognition as:
“…pupils’ ability to monitor, direct and review their learning. Effective metacognitive strategies get learners to think about their own learning more explicitly; usually by teaching them to set goals, and monitor and evaluate their own academic progress…self-regulated learning is the interaction of cognitive and metacognitive processes as well as motivation.”
When describing the impact metacognition has on disadvantaged pupils it states:
“…disadvantaged pupils are less likely to use metacognitive and self-regulatory strategies without being explicitly taught these strategies. Explicit teaching of metacognitive and self-regulatory strategies could therefore encourage such pupils to practise and use these skills more frequently…’
The EEF Toolkit, rates ‘metacognition and self-regulation’ as a ‘high impact, low cost approach to improving the attainment of disadvantaged learners’ states: “The potential impact of metacognition and self-regulation approaches is high, around +7 months additional progress/value added”.
Drive Team Metacognition Intent Statement:
Our aim is to develop pupils who are: creative thinkers, resilient problem solvers, emotional regulated learners and reflective questioners, who can work collaboratively, showing leadership initiative and will strive to make a positive impact in the world around them.
Our aim is for all pupils to have the confidence to become inquisitive; demonstrating focused questioning skills to their peers and adults. They will be able to understand and verbalise their thinking processes. They will appreciate that learning can (& should) at times be challenging and see their learning as a journey. They will self-reflect and evaluate their own learning journey and be independent in adapting strategies to new situations. They will be able to scaffold their own learning, using acquired tools, strategies and the learning environment around them.
All classrooms will consistently challenge learning through questioning and task design. Clear modelling of thinking processes, reflection and self-evaluation will be embedded in practice. Teacher’s roles will develop as coaches and role models for learners with the aim for learners to then adopt coaching roles. Through peer coaching, children will be less dependent on adult support and use the resources and scaffolds around them. Staff will provide learners with scaffolding tools and support learners in using them dependently and independently.
Key Aims and outcomes:
Child first: To provide a stimulating learning environment for all where learners feel safe to explore knowledge and understanding. We believe that pupils learn best when they are motivated, clear about expectations in their work and behaviour, feel valued, secure and confident, are challenged and receive constructive feedback about their performance.
Aspirations: To be the best they can be. We believe that all staff and pupils can aspire for personal and professional ability and become empowered through the Thinking philosophy.
Motivation: Motivation is a vital element of learner metacognition. Pupils need to be engaged in their task in order to learn. We are all motivated by different things - by understanding what motivates us and how to channel that motivation we can help fulfill potential and improve well-being.
Working Memory: By pupils understanding how their memory works, they can improve their capacity to take in, store and recall information. Through helping kids understand their working memory they can then build routines and solutions to address its inherent limits. Visual prompts and the spiral curriculum design will ensure pupils have tools and opportunities to revisit and build on prior learning.
Emotional regulation: Through pupils learning how to manage their emotions and understanding how they effect their thoughts, behaviours and interactions they will be more effective in enhancing attention, reducing stress, and boosting retention. Pupils will be better equipped to handle challenging situations in a calm and constructive way.
Challenge: To actively shape the minds, attitudes and habits of young people through a framework of cognitive education that enables them to become the master of their own destiny. We believe that pupils require an accurate reflection of what they are good at and need to develop personal insight and manage uncertainty confidently. Developing skilled, independent, reflective learners is part of our vision.
Achievement: For all stakeholders to demonstrate the highest levels of thinking and habits. We want our pupils to be questioning in nature, achieving the highest levels of independent and interdependent skills.
In order for this to be successful we will have a consistent approach to support and empower our learners to be ready for an ever changing future. Embedded into this culture, there will also be a cohesive environment and teaching approach so that our learners continue to develop their thinking skills on their journey throughout the school and as they transition onto their next chapter.
The school action plan can be found here