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Meta-Cognitive Methods in Second Language Learning

written by: Bright Hub Education Writer • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 1/29/2013

These turn second language acquisition theory into structured, effective and self-guided learning!

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    Simple Disciplines

    Meta-Cognitive methods? Holy Moly, what are these all about? Well, not to worry, these are simply the simple disciplines that you can impose on yourself to learn more effectively, more efficiently and with a more intelligent hand on the steering wheel of your learning direction.

    Meta-Cognitive Methods express in three general strategies: your Arrangement and Planning of your learning; Centering your learning, and Evaluating your learning efforts and outcomes. See? Meta-cognitive efforts are consciously chosen, and cognitively applied methods which focus on and amplify your learning efforts.

    Arranging and planning your learning, studying and practice usually unfold into five separate tasks or techniques:

    • Learning about learning (finding out what you can about your individual learning strengths and weaknesses);
    • Planning a language goal or task;
    • Setting your linguistic goals and objectives;
    • Organizing your time and resources in view of your chosen goals and objectives; and
    • Identifying the purpose of your language task or tasks, outcome or objectives, such as purposeful reading, speaking, listening or writing. This is where you can leverage your learning skills immensely, by clearing the way for your clearly defined practice and execution of your chosen tasks to meet your language goals.

    Centering your learning is done by paying attention and listening attentively in a mindful way during formal or informal explanations. Much can be picked up by your wonderful subconscious, but being mindful and attentive is a blessing to you, so practice breathing and focusing, mindfully. Centering your learning also involves overviewing and consciously linking to material you've already memorized or learned. Go from the known to the unknown; it works every time! And centering also means patiently delaying speech production or vocalization while you focus on listening.

    Finally, the Meta-Cognitive skill which you as a Second Language Learner must assiduously apply is frank and objective self-monitoring and self evaluation. Without self monitoring and self evaluation, you can think you're advancing, feel like you're developing and look like you're on your way, but it's all just smoke and self-deception. Use rational self monitoring and objective self evaluation. It'll do you no harm!

    This is one of the indirect learning strategies used by learners of any second language, and they will give form and focus to the methods and means you use to soar into the atmosphere of linguistic fluency in your chosen Second Language. Happy journey, Learner!