Many intervention studies show an improvement in children’s metacognition by the end of the intervention period and some show an improvement in various performance and outcome measures. However, these gains are rarely maintained over longer periods of time. In higher education teachers often address metacognition again, as they seek to encourage independent thought and refl ective questioning. In my experience many students on undergraduate and post graduate courses still fi nd refl ecting on thinking diffi cult and even frightening. The external examination procedures they have come through to enter higher education rely on an ability to remember information, to discuss that information in the light of a pre-set question and to demonstrate skills of critical analysis and synthesis. These are good skills to have developed through years spent in formal education. However, what is often missing from higher education students’ repertoire of skills is metacognition. In my experience of teaching these students, a metacognitive defi cit is demonstrated in their inability to make connections between different aspects of the topic, and more often between the academic topic and life outside academia. Teaching on courses concerned with education or childhood, I am often struck by students’ lack of thinking about the implications of different theoretical positions for real children in real schools or childhood settings. In addition, news items, whether about child poverty or changes to education policy, often fail to register with the students. This is not an intelligence gap, nor is it about simply a lack of thought – instead I believe it has more to do with a lack of confi dence about their own ability to think around the subject matter. There seems to be a block between thinking about the subject and thinking about where their own thinking is leading them. The lack of confi dence comes from lack of practice and support for thinking.