Heather Branigan

PhD Research Student

1) Prof. David I Donaldson, Division of Psychology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling.
2) Dr Sandra Eady, Education, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling.
Room: 3B103
Email: h.e.branigan@stir.ac.uk
Tel:+44 (0)1786 466366

Start Date: 1st October 2014

Research Project: Exploring Metacognition in the Primary School Classroom

My inter-disciplinary project between psychology and education examines the transition of ideas from psychological research into the primary school classroom, with particular focus on the ways learners think about and manage their own thinking (or ‘metacognition’). Research demonstrates the value of metacognition in enabling learners to take control of their own thinking, to make sense of new information, and to strategically work towards goals. Whilst the value of a metacognitive approach appears clear, there are fundamental gaps in our understanding about how the psychological construct of metacognition relates to the ways students think about, monitor, and control their own thinking in ‘real-life’ classroom settings.

My research activities center on characterising metacognition in the classroom environment by observing students as they complete everyday tasks and structured activities. I also explore students’ and teachers’ knowledge of and beliefs about learning and metacognition through interviews. A core aspect of my Ph.D. has been an in-depth examination of psychological theories of metacognition and associated measures of assessment. As a result, I have created an Iterative Account of Metacognition (IAM) that outlines key components of metacognition throughout the learning process in the applied classroom setting.

My project aims to strengthen psychological theory relating to metacognition by characterising metacognition within the classroom and comparing this to psychological theory. I also aim to impact upon teachers’ pedagogic content knowledge of metacognition. For instance, I have created a teacher resource pack about metacognition, which draws together psychological theory with my own research findings.

More widely, I am interested in the transition of ideas between research, policy, and practice. I am always happy to discuss my research and other related projects. Please feel free to contact me to discuss anything!


Funding Acknowledgements

I have been generously awarded a 42 month Ph.D. 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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