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Title: Exploring metacognition in primary school classrooms
Author: Branigan, Heather Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 7972 2371
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis investigates the phenomenon of metacognition within primary school classrooms. The value of metacognition for academic performance has been demonstrated extensively in research, leading to the belief that metacognition is powerful for achieving educational success. Whilst the vast body of evidence is compelling, there are fundamental gaps in understanding about how the construct of metacognition relates to the ways students think about and manage their own thinking in classrooms. Seeking to characterise metacognition, this project formed three distinct yet related studies. Metacognition was investigated through observations of everyday classroom tasks, specific 'metacognitive' tasks (Structured Thinking Activities), and teacher interviews. Data were analysed using a distinctive thematic approach firmly grounded in practice, but clearly guided by psychological theory. Analysis revealed that metacognition is practiced in primary school classrooms, although not always in ways suggested by psychological theory. Metacognition was conceptualised as elements of knowledge and regulation employed before, during and after tasks in an iterative fashion, with a critical role of interaction in constructing metacognition. The re-conceptualisation of metacognition within the applied context of primary school classrooms makes an original contribution to psychological and educational fields; emphasising the iterative and relational nature of metacognition in the applied educational context. Given the identified critical role of teachers for facilitating metacognition through interaction, interviews revealed a surprising lack of explicit knowledge of the term by teachers. A critical factor in the adoption of metacognitive approaches was the perceived changing tide of restrictive 'top-down' policy, leading to a diminishing sense of agency. A novel ecological approach explains why there may be limited impact of metacognition research into the classroom, producing recommendations relating to future directions of university-based and classroom-based research.
Supervisor: Donaldson, David Sponsor: Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: metacognition ; classroom ; development ; pedagogy ; qualitative ; agency ; Early childhood education--Evaluation