Fostering Master's Students' Metacognition and Self-Regulation Practices for Research Writing

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College Teaching

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Proficiency in writing is crucial for success in graduate school. While doctoral student writing has received attention in the research literature, little research has focused on master's student writing. Master's students need to be skilled writers in their professional lives, and have the same if not greater need for writing instruction as other graduate students. When writing is taught in graduate school, the instruction often focuses on content and text, not on the writing context and process. Recent research on academic writing suggests the importance of focusing on the behaviors, motivations, and cognitions that surround student writing, especially metacognitive awareness and self-regulation of the writing processes. This qualitative case study examined MA TESOL students’ reactions to classroom activities designed to teach metacognitive awareness of writing strategies, self-regulation of writing practices, and text strategies. Data collected included surveys and students’ writing plans. Five themes emerged from the data analysis. Students benefitted from: Increased metacognitive awareness of writing practices, the focus on the social support of writing, the opportunity to review peers’ papers, discussion of the stress points around writing, and instruction about the text structures underlying academic writing. Suggestions for application of instructional practices to other writing programs are included.


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