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     Phase II Research Project

ACTS II: Sustainable Thinking Classrooms

This project has now completed. Major outputs include:



Prof Carol McGuinness, (Queen's University, Belfast)
Prof Noel Sheehy (Queen's University, Belfast)

Initial Project Summary

This project created and evaluated practical teaching strategies to improve classroom learning in primary schools, enhancing pupils’ thinking skills across the curriculum.

The research examined the role of metacognition in teaching thinking skills at Key Stage 2. "Metacognition" refers to people's knowledge about thinking which helps them to manage effectively their thought processes in learning and problem solving. Classroom dialogue is thought to play a key role teaching this form of intellectual management. This project focussed on assessing and promoting appropriate dialogue, analysing the critical features of this approach in terms of improving learning outcomes for both pupils and teachers, and models of teacher support which can sustain innovation in this regard.

Three interrelated studies were conducted. The first developed and evaluated a framework for analysing metacognitive features of teachers’ and pupils’ classroom dialogue. The second evaluated an intervention process involving the promotion of appropriate teaching; the effects on both teachers' and pupils' learning will be appraised. The third study developed long term strategies for sustaining thinking classrooms with a focus on metacognitive activity.

The research builds on the achievements of the ACTS (Activating Children’s Thinking Skills) project in Northern Ireland. The project involved a wide range of collaborations, working with teachers, curriculum advisers and officers from the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) in Northern Ireland to develop evidence-based teaching strategies.

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