Metacognitive instruction with young learners: A case of willingness to communicate, L2 use, and metacognition of oral communication

Masatoshi Sato, Claudia Dussuel Lam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This classroom-based, quasi-experimental study explored the impact of metacognitive instruction designed to promote young learners’ (1) willingness to communicate (WTC), (2) participation in communicative activities, and (3) metacognitive knowledge of oral communication. Forty-four Grade 3 students (8–9 years old) from two intact classes participated in the study. The learners in Class A (n = 23) engaged in a series of activities designed to increase their metacognition in relation to WTC, while Class B (n = 21) served as the control. Three outcome measures were explored in the pre-post design: (1) WTC questionnaire; (2) second language (L2) production during group work; and (3) empty WTC pyramids that the participants drew before and after the intervention. In addition, post-intervention interviews were conducted to understand the learners’ metacognitive knowledge of oral communication. The results showed that the intervention did not have an observable impact on the learners’ WTC. However, their metacognitive knowledge of oral communication was heightened after the intervention. The behavioral data showed that the experimental participants produced the target language more and that group members started to share turns more evenly. The study concludes that metacognitive instruction can be a useful pedagogical tool to improve L2 learners’ metacognition as well as classroom participations patterns, even with young learners whose metacognition can be obscure or inaccurate.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage Teaching Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • collaborative learning
  • instructed second language acquisition
  • metacognition
  • metacognitive instruction
  • willingness to communicate
  • young learners

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Metacognitive instruction with young learners: A case of willingness to communicate, L2 use, and metacognition of oral communication'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this