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

Roberts, Anthony David

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

Series: Rethinking Education - Volume 10

Year of Publication: 2011

Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2011. XVI, 433 pp., 1 ill., num. tables and graphs
ISBN 978-3-0343-0280-7 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.600 kg, 1.323 lbs

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Book synopsis

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.


Contents: Metacognitive and metalinguistic processing – Metalinguistic processing and language development – Towards a model of metalinguistic awareness – Problems of differentiation – Metalinguistic awareness and language planning – Metalinguistic awareness and pedagogy – Towards an effective pedagogy for FLL – Towards a metatheory of SLT.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Anthony David Roberts worked for many years as head of modern languages in inner London schools before taking up a lectureship at the Institute of Education, London, in 1987. From 1988 to 1996 he was senior lecturer and head of modern languages at the Institute of Education. He founded and edited the Languages Forum journal from 1989-1996. On retirement in 1996, he focused on his own writing and research, producing several works including the current volume.


«This book serves as an excellent literature review for teachers regarding linguistic development in children. The author offers an extended compilation of current theories and trends in the field as well as commentary on their importance and their weaknesses.» (Clara Burgo, The Linguist List)


Rethinking Education. Vol. 10
Edited by Marie Martin, Gerry Gaden and Judith Harford