Teaching for Social Difference through Metacognition


The paper presents action research investigating the impact of explicitly teaching for metacognition in two schools and compares the transfer of skills in students from a low socio-economic environment to the transfer of skills in students from a socio-economically privileged environment. Participants in both schools were 14-17 years old, completing their (South African NSC) Grade 9-11 years. Students were schooled in the theory and application of nine different metacognitive strategies as their primary learning focus and curriculum-based skills and content learning was introduced to them afterwards or approached through the application of said taught strategies. Results suggest that students from lower socio-economic environments and schools benefit greatly from teaching for metacognition as their results shifted significantly over two years (27%), that students from privileged environments can also benefit from teaching for metacognition and improve academic results (5%), that teaching for metacognition helps redress the gaps in learning from formative years in the learning of students from lower socio-economic environments, that the most successful uptake in students of teaching such strategies requires teacher cooperation. Results are discussed in terms of implications for the curriculum design and pedagogical approach for teachers in schools serving socio-economically disadvantaged areas.


Teaching, Metacognition


Pedagogy and Curriculum


Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


  • Susan Rene Nightingale
    • Head of Department, English and Structured Dialogue, Somerset College, South Africa Western Cape, South Africa
    • Passionate English teacher, Head of English, Head of Structured Dialogue; I believe that constructivist-focused social learning is key to meaning making and that dialogue is central to learning.