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The Role of Metalinguistic Awareness in the Effective Teaching of Foreign Languages


Anthony David Roberts

Attempts to explain children’s ability to focus on language as medium rather than message have varied dramatically over the years. Studies in the field of metacognition have shown that this has a bearing on children’s growing metalinguistic awareness. Conversely, children’s ability to reflect upon and control their own use of language has been seen to have a bearing on the emergence of general metacognitive processes. However, significant differences have emerged not only in the interpretation of the research findings but also in the attempt to reconcile such findings with those of traditional anecdotal sources and to create more explanatory theoretical models.
Starting with a critical review of the various theoretical approaches in the area of metacognition, this book explores in detail a socio-cultural approach, examining the origin, function and cognitive status of metalinguistic awareness. By elaborating and refining the analysis of writers such as Vygotsky in the light of new developments in relevant fields, the author also seeks to outline a model which can be applied to the pedagogic process. The book will be of interest to students and scholars of children’s language development, applied linguistics and cognitive psychology, as well as to teachers of foreign languages at all levels.


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Note on the author ix Acknowledgements xiii Abbreviations xv Introduction 1 Chapter 1 Metacognitive and metalinguistic processing 9 1.0. Metalinguistic processing: terminological considerations 9 2.0. Cognitive processing 12 3.0. Paradigmatic approaches 28 4.0. Summary 48 Chapter 2 Metalinguistic processing and language development. 57 1.0. The parameters of the debate 57 2.0. Alternative hypotheses 63 3.0. Summary 100 Chapter 3 Towards a model of metalinguistic awareness 109 1.0. Towards a model of metalinguistic awareness: theoretical considerations 109 2.0. Functional dif ferentiation 110 3.0. Metalinguistic awareness and system 134 4.0. Metalinguistic awareness and valorisation 142 5.0. Summary 150 vi Chapter 4 Problems of dif ferentiation 159 1.0. Problems of dif ferentiation 159 2.0. Class, codes and socialisation 164 3.0. Educational implications 185 4.0. Summary 189 Chapter 5 Metalinguistic awareness and language planning 197 1.0. Metalinguistic awareness and education: shifting rationales 197 2.0. Historic polarities 199 3.0. The language curriculum as ‘semiotic apprenticeship’ 209 4.0. Towards a cross-curricular syllabus 223 5.0. Summary 230 Chapter 6 Metalinguistic awareness and pedagogy 239 1.0. Language curriculum and pedagogy 239 2.0. Dif ferentiation between L1 and L2 241 3.0. ‘Attention enhancing strategies’ 252 4.0. Dif ferentiation within L2 265 5.0. Summary 283 Chapter 7 Towards an ef fective pedagogy for FLL 291 1.0. Contrasting theories of acquisition 291 2.0. ‘Loan of consciousness’ 293 3.0. Towards a FLL pedagogy 302 4.0. Aspects of pedagogy 314 5.0. Contextualisation of form-meaning relationship 323 6.0. Summary 329 vii Chapter 8 Conclusion: Towards a metatheory of SLT 337 1.0. KAL and cross-curricular...

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