How to Accelerate Your Child’s Learning
Metacognition is one of the highest impact strategies for accelerating learning. According to research from the Sutton Trust, a student taught to develop metacognition achieves 20 months progress relative to 12 months average progress. But what is metacognition? And how can we help develop this in our children? Find out everything you need to know in this article. We introduce the highest calibre of tutors who can help to develop your child’s metacognition. To find out more and to book a private tutor, please call one of our tuition consultants.
What is metacognition?
Metacognition simply means “thinking about thinking”. It uses the building blocks of good teaching practice to enable students to develop strategies for learning, revision and examination technique. There are two key parts to metacognition; reflection and self-regulation:
- REFLECTION means being aware of what you know and thinking about the limits of what you know. For example, it’s one thing to know that plants need sunlight but another to be aware that you don’t actually know why they need sunlight.
- SELF-REGULATION refers to the management of how we think. This is the ability to consciously switch from one thinking strategy to another.
How can you develop metacognition in your child?
TELL THEM HOW YOU THINK
The chances are that you are already an accomplished metacognitive thinker, so you can help your children by showing them how you do this. This involves giving them an insight into your inner thought processes; explaining what you do and do not know about a particular topic, and showing them how to consciously change from one problem-solving approach to another. As an example, if you are trying to decide whether to buy an organic apple or a regular apple, you can tell them all the things you know: the organic is more expensive, it will probably taste the same, but it may have a health benefit and probably was less harmful to the environment where it was grown. You can then explain how you are trying to solve the problem – by considering all of these factors and choosing which ones are important to you – and then saying why they are important. For example, you might worry so much about the use of pesticides that you don’t mind paying the extra money – even though that money could be given to a charity instead.
HELP THEM TO ANALYSE THEIR OWN THINKING
You can encourage your son or daughter to become alert to all the times when they are thinking, and to show them how to be positive about all the thinking that they do. You can help by providing opportunities for your children to consciously notice their own thinking. For example, asking “what makes you say that?” or “what do you know about [a topic]?” Another approach is to ask children to list a series of questions and then discuss the merits of these questions.
GET HELP FROM A PRIVATE TUTOR
Finally, it’s worth noting that one-to-one tuition is another highly effective learning strategy. This can be with a parent, teacher or private tutor. Good tutors encourage your child to develop their own metacognitive strategies, which they can then use for themselves in the future. The tutor will encourage the child to reflect on their thinking and to self-regulate their learning style. The benefit of having a tutor to do this is that it becomes an automatic process and it feels very natural for the child.