Important reports to read: metacognition, the word gap and what teacher trainees need to learn

The past few weeks there were so many interesting reports and studies published that it’s sheer impossible to keep track while teaching. In this post I want to highlight what you really shouldn’t miss.

First there is the report that  Daniel Muijs and Christian Bockhove wrote on metacognition and self-regulated learning for the EEF:

This guidance draws on a review of the evidence about self-regulated learning and metacognition led by Professor Daniel Muijs and Dr Christian Bokhove (University of Southampton). It is not a new study in itself, but rather is intended as an accessible overview of existing research with clear, actionable guidance. More information about the review and the process is at the end of the review. Some key references are included here; for those wishing to explore the subject in more depth, the forthcoming report will contain a more comprehensive reference section.

This is a summary of the more important recommendations:

Next up is this Oxford report on why closing the word gap is crucial. It’s a pretty big report, so if you only have limited time, do read the first part with the overview of the evidence, although the whole report is important. You want to know why, well read this excerpt:

Almost all primary school teachers surveyed by OUP felt that the word gap resulted in weaker comprehension skills and slower than expected progress in reading and writing. Secondary school teachers overwhelmingly stated that a low vocabulary affects a child’s progress through secondary school across a wide range of subjects. The vast majority of those surveyed (86% of primary teachers and 80% of secondary teachers) responded that they thought it was very or extremely challenging for pupils with a limited vocabulary to read national test papers. Consequently, 82% primary teachers and 79% of secondary teachers noted that these pupils are likely to get worse results in national tests.

And also:

Self esteem, behaviour and a child’s ability to make friends were all felt to be negatively affected by low levels of vocabulary.

A third report isn’t actually a report but Daniel Willingham who is making a plea about what teacher trainees should learn about educational psychology.  You can check:

This abstract from the article in Mind, Brain, Education summarizes the main idea:

Although most teacher education programs include instruction in the basic science of psychology, practicing teachers report that this preparation has low utility. Researchers have considered what sort of information from psychology about children’s thinking, emotion, and motivation would be useful for teachers’ practice. Here, I take a different tack. I begin by considering three varieties of statements in basic science: empirical observations, theoretical statements, and epistemic assumptions. I suggest that the first of these can support classroom application, but the latter two cannot. I use that conclusion as a starting point for considering the instruction of prospective teachers in psychology.

I for myself am not that sure if I agree with Daniel on this line of thinking, but I do think it’s an important debate to have and therefor well worth the read.

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