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Reflections on my experience of developing and implementing a metalearning program for an EFL elective course in a Taiwanese secondary school

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Caroline Walker-Gleaves



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


© 2017 Elsevier Ltd This paper reports my personal reflection on the development and application of a metalearning program for a class of 10th grade (age: 15–16 years) students. Despite new government curriculum guidelines for senior high schools emphasizing critical thinking, creativity, reflection, and self-management by students, EFL teaching in Taiwan remains exam-oriented. Learning typically involves mechanical practice to memorize subject content and prescriptive, teacher-determined answers that are viewed as the only “standard” answers. Inspired by the alternative to passive-receptive learning and direct instruction presented by the concept of metalearning proposed by Biggs (1985), I developed a study program that promotes metalearning capacity. The aim was to equip students to cope with difficult and demanding learning situations and develop their academic independence. Metalearning involves students being aware of themselves as learners and supervising their learning strategy and progress. I assigned reflection activities such as discussions and journaling to aid the students in developing a habit of learning through examining their own and others’ experiences. Students were encouraged to reflect on problem-solving and decision-making and to develop insight and control regarding the learning process. I used the action research methodology for the study design and applied a theoretical framework that was structured around the three axes of experience, reflection, and interaction. The recommendations of this study are that teachers should participate in individual and collective reflection, adopt a more humane approach to student interaction, express authentic feelings, and engage in dialogue. Teachers who have developed critical awareness can catalyze beneficial changes in educational environments.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lin S-W, Rattray J, Walker-Gleaves C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Thinking Skills and Creativity

Year: 2018

Volume: 27

Pages: 123-130

Print publication date: 01/03/2018

Online publication date: 19/12/2017

Acceptance date: 17/12/2017

Date deposited: 03/01/2021

ISSN (print): 1871-1871

ISSN (electronic): 1878-0423

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.tsc.2017.12.001


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