Making the abstract explicit: the role of metacognition in teaching and learning (2021)

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Paul Beach, Ross Anderson, Jessica Jacovidis and Kristine Chadwick—Inflexion

Given the recent increase in attention around social and emotional learning in education, the International Baccalaureate (IB) commissioned three policy papers focused on key interrelated social and emotional learning topics that are closely aligned to the IB’s work: academic resilience, growth mindset and metacognition. This policy paper presents findings from a wide range of literature on metacognition in primary and secondary education. When we do purposeful thinking about our thinking we engage in “metacognition”. To help make the abstract explicit for school leaders and teachers, the paper focuses on three aspects of metacognition commonly studied in the literature: metacognitive knowledge, metacognitive skills and metacognitive experiences. Part one of the paper describes key insights from research on metacognition. Part two presents promising practices for improving students’ metacognitive abilities. Lastly, part three provides recommendations for IB stakeholders that are meant to strengthen and reinforce the potential of IB programmes to develop students with metacognitive strengths for lifelong learning.

Research brief (PDF, 299 KB)

Policy paper (PDF, 2.3 MB)

Metacognitive skills: key insights and promising practices from research

What is metacognition, and how can it benefit student learning? In this podcast, researcher Paul Beach highlights promising practices to help IB educators and parents to support metacognitive development among their students.