Dr Shirley Larkin
Senior Lecturer


I research metacognition, self-regulated learning and thinking skills. My research to date has focussed on primary age children. Specifically I worked on the Cognitive Acceleration @ key stage 1 project (http://www.letsthink.org.uk/) with Philip Adey at King's College, London, - a programme designed to accelerate the cognitive development of 5-6 year olds. I looked at how this intervention programme worked in terms of facilitating and developing both children and teacher metacognition. Subsequently I have researched talk in both primary and secondary classrooms, primary writing and latterly primary religious education. The RE-flect project was designed to create metacognitive
learning environments in religious education classes for 8-10 year olds. The project website:
www.re-flect.org.uk gives details of the programme and some sample activities.
I am particularly interested in how developing metacognition can enable people to learn in their own way, for their own purposes, throughout life. In this sense I see metacognition theory as a contribution to  progressive and alternative education. This goes beyond curriculum areas, attainment and test scores. However education research is often focussed on specific domains or stages and I am happy to supervise or collaborate on research in any curriculum area, for any age group which focuses on metacognition, self-regulated learning or broader thinking skills.
I often take a mixed methods approach to research, but I have a particular interest in the use of personal construct approaches and phenomenological approaches. My focus is often on what metacognition means to the individual,  how those meanings develop are facilitated or hindered and how metacognition is manifested in behaviour. In terms of classroom education I explore how teachers can create metacognitive learning environments to facilitate self-regulated learning, whilst developing their own metacognition.


BA Hons English Literature; BSc Hons Psychology; Certificate in Education (Cert Ed.); PhD; PCAP


Research group links

Contact details

Internal tel4814
Tel+44 (0) 1392 724814
AddressNorth Cloisters
University of Exeter
St Luke's Campus
Heavitree Road
OfficeNC 133

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