LON24/05/18 Rocket Science or Basic Life Skills? – Developing Metacognition and Critical Analysis Skills for HE Students with SpLDs

Date: 24/05/2018

Location: Ambasadors Bloomsbury Hotel

Price (per person): Members £155, Non-members £185

6 Spaces Remaining

LON24/05/18 Rocket Science or Basic Life Skills? – Developing Metacognition and Critical Analysis Skills for HE Students with SpLDs

Location: London

Presenter: Rachel Simpson

Booking Ref: LON24/05/18

Day of Week: Thursday

Course Times: 10.00am to 4.15pm (registration from 9.30am)

Link to Venue: Ambassadors Hotel, Bloomsbury

Target Audience: Educators working in Higher Education Supporting Learners with Specific Learning Difficulties

Pre-requisites: Need to be providing support for students in Higher Education with a Specific Learning Difference


Metacognition and critical thinking skills are essential to success at university, but are often not explicitly taught. Students are sometimes left with the impression that they are some form of dark art which has no relevance outside of university assessments. Fitting development of these skills into the already time-pressured context of individual support sessions can be extremely challenging, especially as they can potentially fall into the grey area that lies between content and study skills.

Course Description

The course will introduce a structured 6-step approach to teaching metacognition and critical thinking skills, which can begin in the first session with the student, and be integrated, on a “little and often” basis, into every aspect of an individual’s studies. It will demonstrate ways of demystifying metacognition and critical thinking skills, and of making them into transferrable skills which can be adapted to every aspect of life.

The day will include:

  • Practical activities which can be used to demonstrate the role that metacognition and critical thinking play in helping us become happy successful individuals.
  • Discussion of ways in which metacognition and critical thinking skills differ or are similar, with a view to developing a deeper understanding of what they are.
  • Working through the 6-step approach and considering ways in which it can be adapted to different contexts (reading, listening, writing, speaking) in order to make skills fully transferrable.
  • Consideration of how it can be made into a “little and often” process that can enhance study skills support without straying into “content”.
  • Activities will be based on practical resources and delegates will have the opportunity to discuss and evaluate those resources and share experience from their own practice.

Course Outcome

Participants will develop their ability to integrate metacognition and critical thinking skills into their practice on a “little and often” basis and to develop their students’ ability to transfer the skills into any aspect of study, and into work and daily life.


Rachel Simpson

Rachel is part of the Oxford SpLD Tutor Group and has worked for the past 8 years at Oxford Brookes University, initially as an In-house Specialist Dyslexia SpLD Tutor and then as a freelance Tutor and Assessor. This experience has given her a useful insight into some of the difficulties of being an independent tutor, whilst also benefiting from the advantages of being part of a highly experienced and supportive team. She has written a chapter on “How to Make the Most of Your Lectures”, and contributed to a chapter on “Reading Strategies”, for the 3rd Edition of Study Skills for Students with Dyslexia: Support for Specific Learning Differences (SpLDS) edited by Sandra Hargreaves and Jamie Crabb.

Prior to becoming a Specialist Dyslexia/SpLD Tutor Rachel had taught History (GCSE, A Level and Access), Basic Literacy and Numeracy, and English as a Foreign Language in FE Colleges and Basic Skills centres in the UK and Cyprus, and in Hong Kong University School of Professional and Continuing Education.  More recently she also taught the PG Diploma in Assessment of SpLDs at London Metropolitan University from 2011-2016, with responsibility for updating the course design to meet changing assessme