Metacognition & the ReflectED approach
In the academic year 2018-19 we were a lead ‘hub’ school for ReflectED, which is an approach to learning developed by Rosendale Research School in London. The approach, which has now been intertwined with our curriculum via the PRIME areas, teaches and develops our children’s metacognition skills (learning how they learn). It supports and improves attainment, especially amongst disadvantaged pupils, and aims to help learners of all backgrounds develop the tools to make excellent progress in their learning and fulfil their potential.
ReflectED teaches children the skills of reflection and how to record their learning moments and strategies. Teachers can also look across these reflections to understand what pupils are enjoying or struggling with, and identify specific pupil needs.
Evidence suggests the metacognitive skills children develop through ReflectED will significantly enhance their learning.
How it works
Each class in school receives a weekly ‘metacognition’ lesson. The children learn new skills, such as how to juggle, how to use chopsticks, how to tie shoelaces etc. The purpose of these skills lessons is to teach children a new skill which they will most likely find difficult and challenging. We purposefully put the children in a position in which they feel ‘stuck’. Subsequent lessons deliver key messages around ‘having a growth mind-set’, what makes a successful learner, cognition and metacognition, being in ‘The Learning Pit’ and possessing skills of resilience, grit and determination in order to succeed.
Throughout the school day, staff support children to make ‘reflections’ about their learning. They discuss what has helped them to be successful with a specific learning task and use colour tags to represent how confident they are feeling. Red means they feel stuck, and need to be resilient and find strategies to help them. Yellow means they are getting there, but need to continue to be determined in order to become more confident. Green means they feel confident, and with a little more hard work will become masters of a particular task. Blue means that the children feel so confident about a task that they can ‘coach’ and support a partner to learn. Blue learners are ready to seek additional challenge so that they are stretching themselves to achieve more.
All staff incorporate the language learned in the metacognition skills lessons across all subject areas, so that the strategies learnt through embracing the ‘struggle’ of learning a new skill creates a crucial learning point for children and equips them with values of resilience, determination and grit that help them succeed across the curriculum. The culture of metacognitive language for learning, modelled by staff, is what supports our children’s own ‘growth-mindsets’, giving them the determination and belief required to be successful.
On a daily basis, children and staff use Seesaw to share new learning. Children’s learning is shared on Seesaw so that parents can see, ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on their child’s work. Seesaw is also used by children to make reflections; they share ‘marvellous mistakes’ which they’ve learned from and they discuss how they have found an activity/lesson.
Across the Grove Road Curriculum, we promote and explicitly praise our children for making and learning from ‘marvellous mistakes’. We embrace a culture where making mistakes is part of life; we are accepting of and positive about each other’s mistakes because we realise that mistakes and being ‘stuck’ are the best opportunities we have to learn. Within this, we unpick the ‘zone of proximal development’ as a visual tool, where children can identify when things are too easy, too hard or just right for them to learn.
By creating a school environment where ‘feeling red’ and learning from mistakes is embraced, we aim for Grove Road children to become intrepid and bold, undaunted by failure; instilling life-long skills and values that we see as fundamental to their futures.
Teachers can access to a wide range of supporting materials on the ReflectED website, including films and downloads. Face to face training is available to schools who are new to ReflectED and are interested in introducing it. Please contact our school office to find out more.