In 2015 we made links with Rosendale School in London, to engage in an approach to learning called that ReflectED, in order to further engage our pupils in next step learning. Initially the project started in one class; however we quickly developed this practice throughout the whole school. At The Leys Primary School children are taught 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 does it work? Pupils in Years 1,3,5 receive a weekly ReflectED (metacognition) lesson, following a series of lesson plans developed by Rosendale teachers. However throughout the week, ALL pupils have a chance to reflect on their learning and pupils record more focused reflections in Years 4,5, and 6.
What is Metacognition? Recent research from the Sutton Trust provides a detailed analysis of the most effective strategies to raise attainment and close the attainment gap. Amongst the top three is ‘meta-cognitive strategies’ defined by the Trust as:
“teaching approaches which make learners think about learning more explicitly. This is usually through teaching pupils to plan, monitor and evaluate their own learning. Self-regulation refers to managing one’s own motivation towards learning as well as the more cognitive aspects of thinking and reasoning. Overall these strategies involve being aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses as a learner, being able to set and monitor goals and having strategies to choose from or switch to during leaning activities.
”The strength of the evidence supporting the effectiveness of meta cognition strategies is high, studies show that children make accelerated learning and that it is particularly effective for low achieving children.
Our Vision A key concept which shapes the ethos of our school is growth mindset. We believe the best thing to do is to teach children to embrace challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, expect excellence, be resilient and overcome barriers, thrive on feedback, be inspired by the success of others as well as supporting and encouraging each other. Rather than simply praising success we praise effort, persistence and positive attitudes to the frequent difficulties in the process of learning. There is strong evidence that improving ‘learning to learn’ skills is a powerful way of improving outcomes for disadvantage pupils. Metacognitive approaches have consistently high levels of impact. This approach has the potential for narrowing the gap by improving the way disadvantaged pupils think about their own learning.
What to Reflect Celebration is one of the most common types of reflection, where a child might want to capture a great piece of learning. Another type of reflection is failure. This is something that needs to be built into the environment of the classroom and modelled by the teacher. Failure is important as it is where great learning can happen and normally has a lot of emotion attached to it. Challenge and ‘doing something different next time’ are important in building resilient learners.