Drawing on years of research by colleagues at Newcastle University’s Centre for Learning and Teaching coupled with extensive experience of working with students, teachers and leadership teams, this course course explores how best to teach for higher order thinking and metacognition and powerfully demonstrates its value for learning and teaching.

The course aims to:

  • clearly present the research and principles that underpin the approaches explored;
  • introduce a range of thinking tools, structures and strategies that will engage and support students in active, reflective learning – and in developing a language for doing so;
  • help teachers develop the facilitation skills required for dialogic teaching;
  • support teachers in making their contribution to curriculum development;
  • encourage professional enquiry into the value, practicality and impact of using the approach [in the two-day course model].

Key topics to be covered:

  • Understanding Metacognition: Why develop metacognitive awareness? – rationale and link to research. What is meant by metacognitive knowledge and skill?
  • Making learning visible and explicit: How can we foster a coherent classroom, department or school wide language for learning?
  • Designing opportunities for higher order thinking and metacognitive talk: How can we strengthen judgement, build agency and thus provide an incentive for metacognitive talk?
  • Dialogic teaching as a prerequisite for metacognition: how can teacher facilitation stimulate and extend pupils’ reasoning and structure sustained and deeper thought?
  • How can we use metacognitive learning conversations to help students ‘learn for transfer’ both within and across subject boundaries?


  • Practical tools and strategies for developing higher order thinking, metacognition and transfer that can be applied across the curriculum.
  • The opportunity to make connections with your own subject specialism – to select the tools most useful for developing your own subject’s ‘way of thinking’.
  • A dialogic approach to teaching that helps to shift classroom and school cultures – promoting a better understanding of what it means to be an effective learner or facilitator of learning.
  • Suggested whole school structures to bring coherence to the curriculum and offer students a language for talking and thinking about their learning – a prerequisite for metacognitive self-talk.
COURSE DATE Tuesday 10th December


  • Headteachers and senior leaders
  • Pupil Premium co-ordinators
  • Subject, pastoral, SEN and inclusion leads
  • Virtual School heads/leaders; Governors
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance
  • Two course restaurant lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the day
  • Guaranteed high quality venues

Session 1
Understanding metacognition

  • What is meant by metacognition? Examples and activities to explore what we mean by metacognitive ‘skills’ and metacognitive ‘knowledge’.
  • When do we need to be metacognitive? Activities to promote reflection on the nature of our own metacognitive self-talk as teachers and learners.
  • Why develop metacognitive awareness in our classrooms and schools? Developing a rationale: making connections with the needs of our pupils, our own classroom/school ethos, our own principles and beliefs about teaching and learning; linking to supporting research.

Session 2
Making learning visible and explicit

  • Exploring different structures that can bring greater coherence to the curriculum for our students – some aim to make disciplinary thinking visible, other, more generic models focus on developing a visual model of the learning process and/or a school-wide language for talking and thinking about thinking skills and learning attributes more broadly.

Session 3
Challenging learning

  • What sort of learning activities create opportunities for metacognitive talk and provide students with the incentive to be metacognitive?
  • How can we design learning to help students reflect deeply on the content they are engaging with; reflect on and uncover new learning strategies; and stretch their understanding of themselves?
  • Practical examples of a range of thinking tools and strategies designed to strengthen judgment and build agency; help students uncover the skills and language that underpin disciplinary thinking as well as the threads that connect subjects across the curriculum.

Session 4
Facilitating ‘metacognitive talk’

  • Exploring the link between oracy and metacognition: how can we develop a rich classroom language for thinking and reflecting together, as a pre-requisite for developing metacogntive self-talk? How can we build greater coherency, across a department and/or school, in the language we will use to describe and think about our ‘thinking’?
  • Dialogic teaching as a prerequisite for metacognition: how can we engage in purposeful teacher facilitation to stimulate and extend pupils’ reasoning and structure sustained and deeper thought?
  • How can we use metacognitive learning conversations to help students ‘learn for transfer’ both within and across subject boundaries?
  • Practical tools to scaffold and support progression in effective metacognitive talk – and self-talk.

Anne de A’Echevarria

Anne taught for 15 years in secondary schools in the UK and France and as a PGCE lecturer, before helping to establish Thinking for Learning in 2002, an educational research and development team, partnered with Northumberland LA and Newcastle University’s Centre for Learning and Teaching. Although still a visiting fellow at Newcastle University, Anne now works as a freelance creative learning consultant and writer, directing her own consultancy, Thinkwell. Working in the UK and the Netherlands, she has worked alongside individuals and teams within a wide range of different organisations – primary and secondary schools, local authorities, museums, media groups, the BBC – any group that is interested in exploring how best to develop a culture of enquiry, creativity and creative learning in their organisation. 

Quality of Education