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Along with Professor John Hattie, Teacher Training UK were delighted to have had the opportunity to host the author of The Learning Imperative, Teaching Backwards and Engaging learners Andy Griffith.


Within the session Andy discussed self-regulation, metacognition and how these concepts link to independent learning.


Metacognition involves the conscious planning, monitoring and evaluating of one’s own learning; this encompasses developing a greater awareness of our own actions and the effect they have. Self-regulation refers to the metacognitive skilfulness of an individual and involves the management of motivation, resilience and perseverance.


The benefits of developing meta-cognitive and self-regulatory skills for teachers include a substantially greater impact on pupil learning because learner engagement is improved. Additional benefits include the reduction of attainment gaps and improved learner ability to develop a deeper conceptual understanding of subjects.


Andy then talked about the seven strategies which will allow teachers to develop metacognitive and self-regulatory skills in learners and includes:


Forced reflexivity: Forcing reflexivity encourages learners to look at past events in order to identify opportunities for development and progression. Examples of strategies that force reflexivity include journaling and reviewing past examples of work to identify the developments that have been made.


Teach motivation: Teaching motivation requires an understanding of the principles of motivation and helps to develop independence in learners. Strategies which encourage motivation include providing opportunities for learners to step outside of their comfort zone.


Teach time management: Teaching time management is essential when providing learners with the skills needed to manage workloads independently; when working with older pupils’ strategies can be taught in order to help them manage workloads unassisted, for example, through demonstrating the use of Kanban time management systems or block scheduling.

‘I, we, you’: ‘I, we, you’ refers to the gradual reduction of adult instruction where learner independence increases; it begins with an adult presenting and de-constructing a model to the class, learners then apply the success criteria as a group or class in order to demonstrate competency, then engage in independent practice.


Cognitive overload: Cognitive overload refers to the inability of learners to absorb new information due to the ability of the brain to process information becoming overwhelmed. Strategies to overcome cognitive overload include incorporating opportunities for metacognition and self-reflection, allowing learners the opportunity to edit and rewrite work and implementing visual organisers.


Moving from concrete to abstract: This process describes the ability of the learner to move from concrete thinking to abstract thinking, strategies to encourage this includes providing real world examples for abstract concepts and building on cultural capital in order to engage learners in experiencing concepts first-hand.


Build a sense of audience: Building a sense of audience comprises of ensuring that learners are given opportunities to practice skills necessary for life outside of the educational environment, this includes allowing for opportunities for learners to present work, act as the teacher and engage in discussion which require formal articulation.