Heather Branigan

Project Title: Using Metacognition to Enhance Educational Outcomes in Primary Education

My research examines the transition of ideas from mainly laboratory-based psychology research into the primary school classroom, with particular focus on the ways children think about and manage their own learning (‘metacognition’). Despite evidence showing the value of metacognition for educational success (e.g. Georgiades, 2000; Adey & Shayer, 1993), previous research has revealed a general lack of knowledge of the term by teachers (Zohar, 1999), and erroneous beliefs regarding the metacognitive capacities of pupils (Robson, 2012; Raudenbush et al., 1993). Utilising survey and interview methods, my research explores teacher’ beliefs about (and articulation of) metacognition and their metacognitive practices – examining the ways in which teachers develop metacognitive capacities of their pupils, and the reasons why they may not. Additionally, developing a novel approach for observing metacognition in the everyday practices of pupils will characterise the metacognition within the primary school classroom. Providing insights into how teachers can support pupils to become successful learners and effective contributors will demonstrate how educational policy can be translated into practice. By providing new insights into practices which support the development of metacognition, this project aims to develop understanding about what is required to translate theoretical ideas developed from psychological evidence into classroom practice.

Awarded: Carnegie PhD Scholarship

Field: Psychology

University: University of Stirling

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