Research School Network: SEND: Inclusivity in the classroom How to use metacognitive strategies to support learning in the classroom.

SEND: Inclusivity in the classroom

How to use metacognitive strategies to support learning in the classroom.

by Lincolnshire Research School
on the

Becki Ashley-Irving, Assistant Headteacher and SENCo at Tetney Primary school explores how her school uses the EEF five-a-day and metacognitive strategies to support children with SEND. 

With the numbers of children with SEND rising, plus the knock-on effects of gaps in learning from COVID for many of our learners, it is becoming ever more important to consider the use of strategies to support children with SEND in our classrooms.

The EEF’s ​‘Special Education Needs in Mainstream guidance report highlights five key recommendations which can be integrated into day-to-day teaching practice with a strong emphasis on high quality teaching to raise attainment among children with additional needs, as well as their classmates.

One useful tool to support this is the EEF Five a day which focuses on five specific approaches that are particularly well-evidenced as having a positive impact.’

Becky 1

To ensure the practical daily use of these strategies within the classroom our school completed further research into Rosenshine’s Principles and found that Tom Sherrington’s division of Rosenshine’s principles of instruction into strands uses a handy infographic to support this:

Becky 2
Becky 2b

But what does this look like, practically, within the classroom?

Daily review – low stakes quizzes on previous learning – this takes the form of two questions from yesterday’s learning, two from last week and one from the previous unit. These spaced retrieval questions are carefully planned as teaching moves forwards to allow you to recover any misconceptions that arrived from teaching. End of unit assessments allow for weekly and monthly reviews of topics.

Daily retrieval practice can take place in many forms such as multiple-choice quizzes, mini white board activities, true/​false questions, labelling diagrams, list creations, image recognition or partial recall to help develop automaticity and strengthen the connections between the previously learned material and move that learning into the long-term memory.

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New material – To reduce cognitive load and support the limited space in our short term memory new material should be broken into small steps, ample opportunities to ask questions, work with a partner and work with a teacher as part of modelled practice – I do, we do, you do (teacher completes, teacher and class work together, you complete) allows guiding of student practices.

For an example, let’s take multiplication of 3 digit numbers.

Initially, we teach multiplication of 1 digit numbers and how this can be applied to hundreds using place value charts and moving our digits to make them 100 times larger.

3400 = (34 = 12) x 100 = 1200

Repeat with tens digit 

320 = (32 = 6) x 10 = 60

Next we apply this to the column method model as an expanded example

3423 = (3400 = 1200)
+ (320 = 60)
+ (33 = 9)

Finally we apply this to the compact method, showing the exchanges needed.

Provide models
– After explicitly teaching new material live modelling accompanied by think alouds will provide further clarification and understanding of the steps involved. These in turn will develop the metacognitive strategies of how to plan for, monitor and evaluate learning in a move towards independence. In Maths we use sentence stems to further assist with this: What is this problem asking? Have I ever seen a mathematical problem like this before? Could I represent the problem with a diagram or graph? As well as the use of concrete and pictorial aids in acquiring the procedures.

Live marking
– checking student understanding as the lesson progresses, misconceptions turning to new discussion points or mini plenaries”.

Finally, and most importantly for our children with SEND are the use of scaffolds to support learning. We have taken this into the form of anchor charts – often called knowledge organisers, but arranged into smaller chunks of information which support retention and also provide a guide for pupils with additional needs. These charts should be matched with pictures to support dual coding of information and regularly referred to during both input and guided practice. These are kept either in pupil books or in folders to refer to often. Graphic organisers such as the Frayer model and writing frames are also very helpful for organising knowledge and ideas.

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Through the use of these skills all pupils can be supported with their learning.

Key Questions

  • How will you ensure low stakes reviews are embedded into your teaching practice?
  • Have you considered the small steps and how these can be completed in an I do, we do, you do approach to support independence?
  • How will you use your adult support live marking? Or do you need to regularly bring the class together to mark their own learning to support you working alone within the classroom?
  • How will you scaffold the learning? What are the key learning points? Can they be shown pictorially as well as through text?

In our aim to have an education system that is inclusive and ambitious for all, every teacher is a teacher of SEND. High quality teaching and the careful integration of the five-a-day approaches into daily teaching will enable pupils with SEND to fully access and achieve in the curriculum so that they can be successful learners.

Rebecca Ashley-Irving

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