Heather Branigan

PhD Research Student

Heather Branigan Profile Photo
1) Prof. David I Donaldson, Division of Psychology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling.
2) Dr. Christine Stephen, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling.
Room: 3A100
Tel:+44 (0)1786 466366

Start Date: 1st October 2014

Research Project: Exploring the role of Metacognition in Enhancing Educational Outcomes in Primary School Education

My research examines the transition of ideas from mainly laboratory-based psychology research into the primary school classroom, with a particular focus on the ways children think about and manage their own learning (‘metacognition'). Despite evidence showing the value of metacognition for educational success (e.g. Georgiades, 2000; Adey & Shayer, 1993), previous research has revealed a general lack of knowledge of the term by teachers (Zohar, 1999), and erroneous beliefs regarding the metacognitive capacities of pupils, with many underestimating the abilities of younger and lower achieving students (Robson, 2012; Raudenbush et al., 1993).

Utilising survey and interview methods, my research explores teachers’ beliefs about (and articulation of) metacognition and their metacognitive practices – examining the ways in which teachers develop metacognitive capacities of their pupils, and the reasons why they may not. Additionally, developing a novel approach for observing metacognition in the everyday practices of pupils will characterise the metacognition within the primary school classroom. Providing insights into how teachers can support pupils to become successful learners and effective contributors will demonstrate how educational policy can be translated into practice. By providing new insights into practices which support the development of metacognition, this project aims to develop an understanding of what is required to translate theoretical ideas developed from psychological evidence into classroom practice.


Funding acknowledgements

I have been generously awarded a 42 month PhD Scholarship by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland. 

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
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