Enhancing metacognitive knowledge: Structure, affordances and self

Sara Cotterall, Garold Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Metacognitive knowledge - what students know about themselves, the tasks they complete and their learning strategies - is essential for successful self-directed learning. It follows that those who work in self-directed learning settings need to stimulate their students' metacognitive development. Previous research in metacognition has defined its characteristics and contribution to language learning, but little has been written about how it develops or can be promoted. This paper seeks to fill that gap by reporting on a three-year study involving more than 400 Japanese students of English which investigated the development of their metacognitive knowledge. The paper will first discuss research in metacognitive knowledge as it relates to language learning. Then, it will describe the aims and nature of the learning opportunities provided in the study before describing the research methodology. Thirdly, the results of analysing quantitative and qualitative data gathered will be presented and discussed. The data provide evidence of change in the students' beliefs about assuming control of their learning, and reflect increases in their ability to plan, monitor and evaluate their learning. It is argued that distinctive elements in the learning structure contributed to the growth of students' metacognitive knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-45
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Affordances
  • Future self
  • Identity
  • Metacognitive knowledge
  • Self-directed learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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