Paper presented at the VIth International Conference on Research in Applied Linguistics (ICRAL2020), Bursa, Turkey, 24 - 26 October 2020
Writing is possibly the most difficult skill that EFL writers engage in. However, the developments in the cognitive psychology not only suggested possible research directions to scholars for investigating the promising and critical role of metacognition in writing achievement but also facilitated language instructors to adopt a different perspective on writing instruction to tackle the tough challenge of writing. The current study explored the constituents of Turkish EFL students’ metacognitive knowledge about writing specific to person, task, and strategy variables. Thirty-five students studying English at B2 level at a preparatory school in Turkey participated in the study. Data for the study were collected through retrospective interviews and analysed through a content analysis. Findings of the content analysis showed that students’ awareness of person variable involved person related factors affecting their writing performance negatively and positively, their self- efficacy beliefs, their awareness of strengths and weaknesses, their endeavours and goals to learn English writing. Participants’ task knowledge, on the other hand, comprised task-related factors affecting writing performance, challenges in completing a writing task, awareness of task requirements, and characteristics of a good writing. In regard to their strategy knowledge, participants addressed to objectives of writing goals, planning ahead of writing, monitoring while writing, revising and editing. Furthermore, to detect the probable differences among students with different writing proficiencies in their metacognitive knowledge, students were divided into three groups as high-performing (HP), average-performing (AP) and low-performing (LP) writers. The content analyses demonstrated significant differences among groups in their person and strategy knowledge, but similarities in their task knowledge. To be more specific, during the interview sessions, HP and AP writers provided more in-depth information about themselves as writers, and about the strategies they employed to achieve writing tasks successfully. However, regardless of their writing achievement scores, participants in all groups mentioned very similar aspects of task knowledge with similar frequency. Depending on its findings, the present study highlights the importance of writing instruction that focuses on the development of students’ metacognitive knowledge.