‘Never mind children’s cognition, what about mine?’ Teachers’ perspectives of the enactment of policy: The case of metacognition

Heather E. Branigan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Educational policy in the UK and beyond increasingly focuses on promoting skills that encourage learners to be independent thinkers and to self-manage their own learning. While the educational benefits of metacognition (i.e., thinking about and managing one’s own thinking) are widely acknowledged, little attention has been paid to teachers’ perspectives about the enactment of such approaches within the educational setting. Thus, this interview study seeks to investigate Scottish primary schools teachers’ perspectives about the enactment of policy, using metacognition as an exemplar case. Analysis produced two broad themes that distinguished between ‘bottom-up’ implementation of metacognitive approaches, and more commonly described ‘top-down’ approaches promoted by local or national policy. The perceived ‘changing tide’ of externally set top-down initiatives was described as particularly challenging for teachers to negotiate, resulting in a perceived crowding of the curriculum and associated ‘tick-boxing’ practices. Results are discussed in relation to the process of enactment—arguing that the predominance of top-down policy initiatives acts to restrict teachers’ agency by diminishing professionalism and promoting performativity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurriculum Journal
Early online date1 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • agency
  • ecological agency
  • impact
  • interview
  • metacognition
  • policy enactment
  • primary school
  • teachers

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