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The Four-Corners Debate Game - This Month's Metacognition Teaching Resource Spotlight

Each month we take a closer look at one of the metacognition or self-regulated learning teaching resource that we offer. The aim of self-regulated learning is to empower students to take control of their own learning-processes; metacognition is the cognitive aspect of self-regulated learning and emphasises the awareness, understanding & regulation of thought.


Reading these monthly posts can contribute to your continued professional development and give you new ideas for classroom practice: why not try a new resource each month and, slowly but surely, become a master of metacognition? Perhaps you’ll be inspired to make a new resource to use with your students or, if you’d like to save time, you might download and try one of the resources from our site.


Our teaching resources are aimed at teachers of students aged 11-16 and can be used by all teachers: regardless of their subject-specialism. They emphasise student-reflection, metacognition and self-regulation.


This month we’re looking at The Four-Corners Debate Game. Links to order and download the resource can be found at the bottom of the article or you can click here.

What Is The Four-Corners Debate Game?

‘Four Corners Debates’ are a form of active debate where students initially move to show their response to a prompt. For example, students may be asked ‘What impacts learning the most?’ and be presented with four options: lack of sleep, dehydration, lack of exercise or poor diet; students move to express their opinion.

What Is This Resource For?


This resource creates engaging student debates about how to learn best and how to boost learning-power.

The aim of this resource is to stimulate metacognitive reflection and discussions that lead toward metacognitive knowledge. Moreover, the purpose of the resource is to promote student-reflection that can enhance their capacity for self-regulated learning.

How Do I Use It?


Once you’ve downloaded the resource you’re ready to go: it contains over one hundred different debate and discussion prompts meaning you can re-use the resource many times. It's a fun 'Pick up and Play' learning activity that you can use in form-times, tutor groups, as a starter activity or just a handy end of lesson metacognition tool for when you have a few minutes to spare!


Once a new prompt is generated, students are given a minute to find their place, pick their corner, and discuss briefly with the others around them why they chose to stand there. Teachers then use effective questioning to promote debates and discussions between the rival camps: encouraging healthy debates and discussion is where many of the benefits are gleamed by students. Each prompt can spark debates lasting for just a few minutes or much longer depending on the flow of the group.

How Does It Foster Metacognition and Self-Regulated Learning?


The resource fosters metacognition (“thinking about thinking”) by encouraging students to reflect on, discuss and debate various aspects of their learning journey. Students analyse and evaluate the factors that impact their ability to learn and how to learn best: this leads them towards valuable insights into themselves as learners and how they learn best (also known as ‘metacognitive knowledge’). This in turn nurtures self-regulated learning behaviours: students gain a clearer understanding of how to regulate their learning-power moving forward.

Which Teachers Can Use This?


Teachers of any subject can use this resource: it is aimed at students aged 11-16 though is suitable for older and younger students also.

To Which Students Is It Most Suited?


This resource is most suitable for students who lack metacognitive knowledge; in other words, students who lack insight into how they learn best and the factors that impact their ability to learn. It’s an ideal resource for students who have untapped learning power and are held back by poor self-regulation.

Students of all abilities can stand to benefit from metacognitive reflections such as those generated through this resource.

How Else Does It Benefit Students?


Aside from developing metacognitive awareness and knowledge as well as self-regulated learning behaviours, this resource is excellent for developing public-speaking, discussion, listening and debate skills.

Where Can I Get It?


This resource can be ordered or downloaded by clicking here. Membership Plan holders can download it freely via the ‘Member’s Area’ by clicking here. You can browse our other metacognition and self-regulated learning-resources here.


You can also use the site menu to navigate and download our large collection of metacognition & self-regulated learning teaching resources. Don’t forget to check-out the ‘Free Downloads’ section of the site!


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All our resources are suitable for students aged 11-16.
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