innovatED Magazine - Issue 3 - Autumn 2019


A lively mix of news, articles, opinion, research, insight and regulatory updates. We take a global perspective and bring the latest developments and outstanding practice from across the world and across different sectors to enable educators to deliver the very best for their pupils. Produced by an experienced and knowledgeable teaching and school leadership team, innovatED is a termly must-read for all staff rooms.

Before a task – encourage students to identify

whether their task they are performing is similar

to others they have done in the past. This will

encourage them to identify helpful strategies

and boost their confidence. An additional area

to target could be identifying clear goals and

how long they think each task will take (in the

research, this is known as helping them to avoid

‘the planning fallacy’).

During a task – provide a structure that allows

them to monitor their performance as they go

along. This ensures any road bumps or hiccups

can be nipped in the bud, ensuring that they

stay on task and on track.

After a task – Having completed the task

students should look to learn from their

experiences, by reflecting on what went well

and what they could improve on for next time.

This provides a firm platform for future learning.



memory &

study skills

Model the Correct Thought Processes

If we want to help students identify the correct thinking process, then

it may be helpful to model our thought processes. This can be

especially helpful for novices at a task, as it provides a step by step

guide about how to solve the problem. By breaking it into

manageable chunks and actionable steps, the task will seem less

daunting and therefore less stressful. Exposing students to their

teacher’s thought processes removes any ambiguity and gives them

a clear structure from an expert, that they can apply to similar


Use Metacognitive Questioning

Another way in which teachers can enhance their student’s

metacognitive skills is by teaching them how to talk to themselves in

a helpful and positive way. One seminal study in this area found that

by having students ask themselves three simple questions before

they started their revision led to them scoring a third of a grade

higher. The three questions they had students ask themselves were

‘which resources do I need to help me study?’, ‘why are these

resources helpful?’ and ‘how will I use this resource?’. Doing so,

improved their self-reflective skills with students reporting they felt

more in control of their learning.

Teach Students the Science of Learning

Giving students an awareness of effective strategies that they can

use to learn is another way to improve their metacognitive skills. One

of the most effective learning strategies is retrieval practice, which

requires students to generate an answer to a question. Retrieval

practice is effective as it reinforces previous learning which helps

create stronger memory traces. This means that actually students

shouldn’t do revision in order to do well in a test, but instead do lots

of tests to help their revision •

Bradley Busch is a chartered psychologist and director of InnerDrive.

He is one of the leading experts on how psychological research can

best help students and teachers improve how they think, learn and

perform. He wrote two regular blogs for The Guardian: ‘The Science

of Learning and Teaching’ and ‘Lessons From Research’. Outside of

education, he works with Premiership and international footballers, as

well as has helped members of Team GB win medals at London 2012

and Rio 2016.

Edward Watson is a graduate of Oxford University who served seven

years in the army. After completing a MBA at London Business School

he worked as a strategic management consultant for Marakon

Associates. In 2006 he founded InnerDrive, a mental skills company

that helps students develop the right mindsets to do well at school

and in life, and to learn the key skills needed to perform under

pressure. Over the past decade, Edward has designed and delivered

student workshops, parent workshops and teacher CPD at hundreds

of schools in the UK and around the world.

The Science of Learning: 77 Studies that Every Teacher Needs to

Know (Routledge, £18.99) by Bradley Busch and Edward Watson is

out now. Additional research for this article was provided by

Innerdrive researcher Charlotte Skipp.

Autumn 2019| innovatED | Issue 3 | Page 39

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