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At Halsnead, we believe that metacognition has a high impact on children's progress. We have trained staff in a metacognitive approach that encourages and enables children to:

'plan, monitor and evaluate their own learning and make changes to learning behaviours.'

Our teaching approach follows the principles of metacognition and the seven steps to promoting teaching metacognition:


1. Activating prior knowledge

2. Explicit strategy instruction

3. Modelling of learned strategy

4. Memorisation of strategy

5. Guided practice

6. Independent practice

7. Structured reflection


Learning Journals

Children have learning journals, which are a self-study book where children can plan, monitor and evaluate their learning. During set times each week, children will look back on prior learning and take part in learning journal activities and reflections about their learning. We encourage children to reflect on their learning, revise key prior knowledge and set goals for future learning. 


Knowledge Planners

Children have opportunities to use knowledge planners independently to look back at prior learning. We teach children to use a range of memory techniques, including the use of mind maps. 


Structured Refection

There are many planned opportunities for children to reflect on their learning, including P.A.U.L reflections to help children reflect on presentation, accuracy, understanding and language. 


Spaced Retrieval

Retrieval practice is the act of retrieving something from your memory (often with the help of a cue).

Recent research has shown that retrieval is critical for robust, durable, long-term learning. Every time a memory is retrieved, that memory becomes more accessible in the future. Retrieval also helps us create coherent and integrated mental representations of complex concepts, the kind of deep learning necessary to solve new problems and draw new inferences.

A really useful starting point to understand retrieval practice, interleaving and spacing can be found here.

At Halsnead Primary School, our pupils are given knowledge retention tasks at the start of each lesson. These tasks are based on pre-requisite knowledge (the key prior knowledge needed for the lesson/topic), each with an expanded interval of time for retrieval information; this creates a deeper level of processing of the learned content in long term memory at each point.