What do children need to succeed at school, in their future careers, and in the pursuit of their dreams? Wherever their ambitions lead them, they will benefit from becoming creative problem solvers, practical optimists, analytical thinkers, and effective communicators and collaborators.

Supporting and guiding students to recognise that they can learn these vital skills and improve them provides a pathway to achieve the goals they set for themselves. Some of the most vital and versatile skillsets we can teach students to develop are the abilities to think about their intellectual performance; to know how, when, where and why to use particular cognitive strategies, and to monitor and adjust their own performance of learning tasks.

These abilities fall under the umbrella of metacognition which refers to knowledge about, and regulation of, one’s own thinking.  Part of this is being reflective by taking a step back and asking  questions such as:

  • What is the problem to be solved here?
  • What should I do?
  • How am I doing?
  • Do I need to do to try another approach?
  • How well did I do?
  • What can I do differently and better next time?

Teaching students to become more metacognitive equips them with skills to become self-directed and better learners. They need explicit instruction and direct experiences in how to steer their thinking and learning and this needs to start from a young age.

Student-Led Conferences for all Prep-Year 5 students on September 4 (afternoon and evening) are specifically designed to support metacognitive skill development. The planning process leading up to the conferences involves explicit teaching of these skills and the conference time is a significant learning experience in itself for each student. The opportunity for students to share samples of their work (or work in progress) will be one aspect of the conference, but it is the underlying and ongoing development of their metacognitive skills that is the real learning value from this.

All families of students across Prep – Year 5 have now received details of the Student-Led Conference Day and bookings for individual times can be made online. It is very important for every student to have a parent or key family member to attend their conference. For anybody who is not able to attend on the day, an alternative time can be arranged directly with the class teacher.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School