Cognizance Research Project 2019 - Partnership with Independent Schools Victoria
| 24 July - 3 Sep 2019

The Geelong College has been selected among only a handful of Victorian schools to participate in a significant project for Year 9 students and teachers, in partnership with Independent Schools Victoria.

What is the Cognizance Research Project?

“Cognizance” is a term referring to an awareness and appreciation of knowledge, in terms of human perception of our own understanding. In education we sometimes use the term to refer to our consciousness as learners and how our own knowledge is shaped. There are elements of both metacognition and neuroscience captured the term.


The Research Project is a collaboration between Independent Schools Victoria and renowned educational neuroscientist and Harvard University graduate, Dr Jared Cooney Horvath (PhD, MEd). At the crossroads between the laboratory and the classroom, Jared spends most of his time working directly with schools or helping companies/organizations to improve employee training, marketing impact, and community engagement. He is also the author of Stop Talking, Start Influencing: 12 Insights from Brain Science to Make Your Message Stick.

The purpose of the Project is to equip Year 9 students with the ability to take charge of their own learning by using tools of metacognition, underpinned by neuroscience.


Why are we excited by the project?


Early-mid adolescence is a time of significant development in the human brain; as a result of surges in hormones, the brain sees the emergence of new neural pathways, and the refinement of old ones. Processing speeds and working memory can increase, and we see students’ critical and conceptual thinking develop. Year 9 is an ideal time, then, for metacognition training. Further, as students begin their journey in the Senior School, we believe that it is important to equip them with evidence-based skills to prepare them for their learning in the years ahead. We want our students to take responsibility for their own learning and so we must equip and empower them to do so.


This ISV research is now in its second year. During 2018, some other Victorian schools undertook the program with promising outcomes. These included;

  • Strong evidence of positive changes to students’ learning practices. Some students revealed improved test scores as a result;
  • Strong growth in teachers’ confidence and ability to create and implement interventions around students’ cognition.


What will be happening?


During Term 3, all our Year 9 students and a team of teachers will be taking part in four 90-minute lessons with Dr Cooney Horvath. These lessons, called Hacking the Brain, will let the students see how their brain works and, more importantly, how to leverage this knowledge for their studies and life. The teachers will then be using the skills in some of the students’ regular timetabled lessons in subjects such as English and Science. Pre and post-program surveys will be used to measure the impact of the sessions on the students’ understanding of their own metacognition.


The lessons will focus on four themes;

  • Lesson One: Get you Mind Right (Stories and Errors)
  • Lesson Two: Master the Hardware (Plasticity)
  • Lesson Three: Gaming the System (Memory)
  • Lesson Four: Owning your Learning (Metacognition)


We very much look forward to seeing our Year 9s reaping the benefits!