This paper draws on data collected during a longitudinal collaborative project with teachers in England from schools and further education colleges. The project investigated ‘Learning to Learn’ in partnership with teacher–researchers with a focus on how metacognitive awareness can be improved by enquiring into creative combinations of pedagogy, environment and learners’ dispositions. The paper is an attempt to make clear the theoretical underpinnings of our belief that the project teachers were enacting something different, something metacognitive. We present a pragmatic model of metacognition development based on ideas collaboratively produced across the project. The five cycles of development are exemplified from the pedagogic and the professional learning perspective with quotes, vignettes and case study excerpts. We show a catalytic relationship between the pedagogies used by the teachers to develop their students’ metacognition and the teachers’ own learning and metacognitive knowledge and skilfulness.