New approaches to students’ metalinguistic knowledge in the writing classroom

Mette Vedsgaard Christensen, Kristine Kabel, Lise Olsen

Research output: Contribution to conference without a publisher/journalPaperResearchpeer-review


This presentation proposes a new tool for analysing students’ metalinguistic knowledge as it is verbalised and formed in classroom dialogues and text interviews in Year 5 (age 11) and Year 8 (age 14) in Denmark. The theoretical point of departure is the notion of grammar as choice (Halliday, 1978) and a more profound integration of the student perspective than seen in existing
linguistic frameworks utilised in approaches to metalinguistic knowledge in the writing classroom. Our tool takes inspiration from previous studies on text dialogues and their conceptualisations of students’ metalinguistic knowledge, e.g. Liberg et al.’s (2011) notion of text movability and Watson and Newman’s (2017) notion of metalinguistic reflection. On this theoretical background, we
expand existing concepts of metalinguistic knowledge as we include the student writer’s perspectives on meaningfulness as they write and talk about their meaning making choices in their own texts. The overall aim is to describe students’ repertoire of engagement and hence to understand the student writer’s realization of meaning, both in the light of his or her own social history and the multidimensional context of the writing activity. The tool is developed as part of a
larger study, Writing Education: A study on the relation between young people’s writing competencies and metalinguistic knowledge in the context of first language education (2022-2025). Through qualitative text studies, classroom observations and student interviews in four Year 5 and
four Year 8 Danish L1 classes, the larger study explores the more specific relations between students’ writing competencies and metalinguistic knowledge. This presentation focuses on a) the theoretical underpinnings of the proposed analytical tool developed to explore and map students’ metalinguistic knowledge and b) our preliminary analysis of interview data from a pilot study in one
Year 8 class. The aim is to provide a theoretical contribution to existing conceptualisations of students’ metalinguistic knowledge and a preliminary empirical account of the role and nature of such knowledge in the writing classroom.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date29 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2023
EventEduling Meeting- Arle SIG: Grammar teaching and learning: challenges and opportunities - Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 29 Jun 202330 Jun 2023


ConferenceEduling Meeting- Arle SIG
LocationAutonomous University of Barcelona


  • learning, educational science and teaching

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