Research School Network: Effective modelling Using the 7 step model to introduce new strategies and to build metacognitive skills with students


Effective modelling

Using the 7 step model to introduce new strategies and to build metacognitive skills with students

by Blackpool Research School
on the

Lauren Stephenson - Assistant Director Blackpool Research School

This year we have been delivering a series of Research Briefings to staff in our school. These are designed to be short sessions where we review the evidence surrounding a key element of pedagogical practice. Our most recent session explored effective modelling.

It is likely that modelling in some form can be found in many of our schools across the country, whether it be a scientist demonstrating to a class how to conduct a practical or in a literacy lesson where a model answer is being used. However, is modelling in isolation like this the most effective and how can practice be tweaked to help students build better metacognitive understanding?

The Metacognition and Self-regulated Learning guidance report outlines a 7 step approach that can be used to structure the delivery of a new strategy. The 7 steps are shown here:

7 step model

This structure was not created with a time frame in mind, it is more a tool to help structure a sequence of learning. Here is an example of how the 7 step approach can be used to introduce the SURE method for reading like a scientist:


1) Activate prior knowledge

Before the lesson the teacher would select a 3 very simple texts to use with the class. These would cover science topics that the students are quite familiar with so that cognitive load when introducing the new method is low.

For example, if introducing the SURE approach to Y7 maybe choosing texts which explore adaptations of animals would be best. This is a topic that they are likely to have seen at KS2. At the start of the lesson a low stakes quiz or cold call questioning could be used to get students to describe the adaptations for a polar bear and a cactus. Doing this means that the scientific content has been recalled and is much fresher in their mind.

2) Explicit strategy instruction

Now is time to introduce the SURE approach. Starting off by exploring how a scientific text is different from the types of text they will read in other subjects, be explicit by showing examples of how there can be diagrams, definitions and equations within the text itself.

Taking each step of the SURE approach in turn, explain what each stage is and why
it is important in the context of a scientific text.

3) Modelling of learned strategy

Once the SURE approach has been introduced, now it needs to be modelled to the students. Using a visualiser and a preselected text, the teacher can then live model the use of the approach. Students can just observe at this point so that they are focused on the use of the strategy. Whilst modelling the teacher can explore beyond the simple use of the strategy by explaining their own thought processes throughout. Verbalising what mean when they skim’ a text, why they have chosen particular text to underline and why they are benefitting from re-reading the text.

4) Memorisation of strategy

Memorisation can be done in a few ways. The simplest way is to provide time for the students to self-quiz the strategy and commit the steps to memory. Alternatively, questioning can be used to actively engage the class in recalling each step and explaining the importance of each step within the strategy as a whole.

5) Guided practice

For guided practice, a partially completed example could be shared with the class. A second text with multiple paragraphs could be used, where SURE has been used with the first few but that the students need to finish it off by using SURE with the last parts. This could then be followed up with the students writing a short summary which covers the whole text.

6) Independent practice

Finally the students will then receive a third text where they are able to use SURE independently.

7) Structured reflection

After this whole cycle, a structured reflection should take place. The class can share their own summaries and pick apart which bits of the information they felt was the most important to extract. They can discuss why this strategy is effective for scientific texts in particular and why scientific texts pose a different challenge to fictional ones.

Upon first look, the above sequence can see lengthy and time consuming. However, to build metacognitive skills with our students they need to delve deeper into understanding what strategies they have available to them and why they are effective. Also, with the above example, explicitly teaching wider skills like SURE can support the transition to KS3 study and help students build confidence with their KS3 science.

More from the Blackpool Research School

Show all news

This website collects a number of cookies from its users for improving your overall experience of the site.Read more