Scholarly article on topic 'Metacognitive Awareness and Attitudes toward Foreign Language Learning in the EFL Context of Turkey'

Metacognitive Awareness and Attitudes toward Foreign Language Learning in the EFL Context of Turkey Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Jafar Pour Feiz

Abstract The present study sought to investigate the impact of metacognitive awareness on prospective English teachers⿿ attitudes toward learning English in a Turkish context. The participants were 104 prospective English teachers from a state university in Ankara/Turkey. Data were collected using the Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (Schraw & Dennison, 1994) and Attitudes toward Foreign Language Learning (A-FLL) developed by Vandewaetere and Desmet (2009). The findings indicated a statistically significant relationship between the participants⿿ perceptions of metacognitive awareness and their attitudes toward foreign language learning. The analysis of moment structures (AMOS) demonstrated that metacognitive awareness was the strong predictor of attitudes toward learning an L2. Moreover, the analysis of squared multiple correlations revealed that Knowledge of cognition (KOC) and regulation of cognition (ROC) as the two major components of metacognitive awareness accounted for 35% of variance in the attitudes of prospective English teachers toward learning a second language. These findings suggest that metacognitive awareness and taking conscious steps to understand what is learned can influence L2 learners⿿ attitudes and result in successful language learning.

Academic research paper on topic "Metacognitive Awareness and Attitudes toward Foreign Language Learning in the EFL Context of Turkey"

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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 232 (2016) 459 - 470

International Conference on Teaching and Learning English as an Additional Language, GlobELT 2016,14-17 April 2016, Antalya, Turkey

Metacognitive Awareness and Attitudes toward Foreign Language Learning in the EFL Context

ofTurkey

Jafar POUR FEIZa*

aSchool of Foreign Languages, Hacettepe University, Ankara, 06800, Turkey

Abstract

The present study sought to investigate the impact of metacognitive awareness on prospective English teachers' attitudes toward learning English in a Turkish context. The participants were 104 prospective English teachers from a state university in Ankara/Turkey. Data were collected using the Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (Schraw & Dennison, 1994) and Attitudes toward Foreign Language Learning (A-FLL) developed by Vandewaetere and Desmet (2009). The findings indicated a statistically significant relationship between the participants' perceptions of metacognitive awareness and their attitudes toward foreign language learning. The analysis of moment structures (AMOS) demonstrated that metacognitive awareness was the strong predictor of attitudes toward learning an L2. Moreover, the analysis of squared multiple correlations revealed that Knowledge of cognition (KOC) and regulation of cognition (ROC) as the two major components of metacognitive awareness accounted for 35% of variance in the attitudes of prospective English teachers toward learning a second language. These findings suggest that metacognitive awareness and taking conscious steps to understand what is learned can influence L2 learners' attitudes and result in successful language learning.

© 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-reviewunderresponsibilityoftheorganizingcommitteeofGlobELT2016

Keywords: Metacognitive awareness; Metacognition; Attitudes; Foreign language learning; Teacher education.

1. Introduction

Ever since metacognitive awareness construct was introduced into cognitive psychology by Flavell in mid 1970's, there has been a growing interest in exploring the importance of metacognitive awareness in teaching and

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +90-507-000-1013; fax: +90-312-299-2158. E-mail address: jpourfeiz@hacettepe.edu.tr

1877-0428 © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of the organizing committee of GlobELT 2016 doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.10.063

learning process in many disciplines as well as second or foreign language (L2) learning. Prior research has acknowledged that metacognition has an indispensible role in effective learning (Anderson, 2000, 2012; Flavell, 1979; Hart & Memnun, 2015; 2016; O'Malley & Chamot, 1990; Oxford, 2011; Oz, 2015; Schraw, 1998; Wenden, 1998). Metacognition consists of knowledge and regulatory skills which enable learners to have control of their own cognition (Schraw, 1998; Schraw & Dennison, 1994). Indeed, metacognition "enables individuals to better manage their cognitive skills, and to determine weaknesses that can be corrected by constructing new cognitive skills" (Schraw, 1998, p.123).

Apart from cognitive and metacognitive abilities, affective variables such as attitudes, motivation, and emotion has gain momentum in both psychology and second language acquisition (SLA) field (Dornyei, 2009; Waninge, 2014). Gardner and Lambert (1972) maintained that attitudes and motivation are central to successful language learning, and that motivation to learn an L2 is affected by the attitude and readiness to be identified with the L2 community. It has been long acknowledged that motivation is one of the most important characteristics that students bring to a learning task (Dornyei, 2005, 2014; Dornyei, Henry, & Muir, 2016; Dornyei, Maclntyre, & Henry, 2015; Dornyei & Ryan, 2015; Gardner, 1985, 2001, 2010; Oz, 2016). The importance of motivation in learning an L2 is well articulated by Dornyei (2005, p.65), who asserts that motivation" provides the primary impetus to initiate L2 learning and later the driving force to sustain the long and often tedious learning process; indeed, all the other factors involved in SLA presuppose motivation to some extent". Indeed, motivation plays a self-regulatory role in learning process and creates self-confidence in learners while engaging in learning activities and tasks. It is compelling, thus, to assert that both metacognition and motivation play a self-regulatory role in learning process and motivation can, in fact, "be considered a component of metacognition insofar as it plays a self-regulatory role in learning" (O'Malley & Chamot, 1990, p.160). It canbe argued, thus, that successful students are more self-confident and self-determined and are more likely to engage in new learning tasks with higher degrees of motivation than those who are unmotivated or amotivated (Deci, Vallerand, Pelletier, & Ryan, 1991; Ryan & Deci, 2000, 2002, 2013; Deci & Ryan, 2002). Moreover, less successful students might develop negative attitudes toward their ability to engage in new learning tasks (Gardner, 1985, 2001, 2010; Masgoret & Gardner, 2003; O'Malley & Chamot, 1990). Therefore, it is assumed that the interplay of metacognitive awareness and attitudes toward learning an L2 might yield deep insights to effective L2 teaching and learning, more specifically in teacher education programs. However, there is little empirical evidence as to how these two constructs are interrelated. Given the importance of metacognitive awareness, attitudes, and motivational as self-regulatory factors in effective learning and the lack of research gap in this area, especially in teacher training programs, the present study explored the relationship between of pre-service English teachers' metacognitive awareness and their attitudes towards foreign language learning in Turkish context.

2. Literature Review

2.1. Metacognitive Awareness

The concept of metacognition, coined by Flavell in 1976, refers to "one's knowledge concerning one's own cognitive processes and outcomes or anything related to them" (Flavell, 1976, p. 232). It also refers to "cognition about cognitive phenomena," or simply "thinking about thinking" (Flavell, 1979, p. 906), and "Awareness and management of one's own thought" (Kuhn & Dean, 2004, p. 270). Motivation is also defined as "the attribute that moves us to do or not to do something" (Broussard & Garrison, 2004, p. 106). Inspired by Piaget's developmental psychology, Flavell (1976) argues that improvement of metacognitive skills, i.e. the ability to actively monitor and regulate one's own cognitive processes, plays an important role in a variety of learning domains including oral skills, L2 learning skills, attention, memory and social interactions (Flavell, 1979; Iwai, 2011). Flavell's (1976, 1979) original model of metacognition comprises of four classes of phenomena: metacognitive knowledge, metacognitive experiences, goals (or tasks), and actions (or strategies). Since then, over the last few decades, there has been an explosion of research to define and unfold the underlying mechanisms and ingredients of the metacognition construct. Anderson (2012) views metacognition as "the ability to make one's thinking visible" (p.170). He further argues that "metacognition results in critical but healthy reflection and evaluation of one's thinking which may result in making specific changes in how one learns. Metacognition is not simply thinking back

on an event, describing what happened and how one felt about it. It requires a cognitive awareness and engagement with the awareness of one's thinking" (Anderson, 2012, p.170).

As seen, there is no agreed-upon definition of metacognition. Nevertheless, most scholars working in cognitive psychology often agree upon two important issues related to metacognition: 1) a distinction between cognition and metacognition, and 2) basic components of metacognition, namely knowledge of cognition and regulation of cognition (Anderson, 2002, 2012; Meniado, 2016; Oz, 2015; Schraw, 1994, 1998; Schraw, Crippen, & Hartley, 2006; Schraw & Dennison, 1994; Wenden 1998, 1999). Knowledge of cognition is concerned with individuals' knowledge of their own cognition or about cognition in general (Schraw, 1998, Schraw & Moshman, 1995). Knowledge of cognition has three subcomponents, namely declarative knowledge, procedural knowledge, and conditional knowledge, which refer. Declarative knowledge refers to a person's explicit or acquired knowledge about his/her cognitive processes (Anderson, 2012; Jafarzadeh, 2016). Procedural knowledge which concerns with our knowledge strategy use, and conditional knowledge which refers to the knowledge of condition and as to when and why to use strategies. Regulation of cognition also comprises a set of sub-processes, i.e. planning, information management skills, monitoring, debugging strategies, and evaluation (Schraw & Dennison, 1994), that play a facilitative role in regulating and control of learning process (Hashempour et al., 2015; Oz, 2015; Schraw,1998; Schraw& Dennison, 1994). These processes empower learners to plan and set goals and strategies, monitor learning process, task performance, and strategy use while undertaking tasks, and evaluate and assess learning outcomes and strategies employed for achieving goals (Schraw, 1998). Cognitive skills empower one to accomplish a learning task, while metacognitive skills help one to understand how to undertake and tackle a learning task ( Schraw, 1998).

A significant body of research has now acknowledged the importance of metacognitive awareness in cognitive activities in L2 learning research (Anderson , 2012; Batang, 2015; Iwai, 2016; Jafarzadeh, 2016; Maftoon, 2014; Meniado, 2016; Mokhtari & Reichard, 2004; Negretti & Kuteeva, 2011;0z, 2005, 2007, 2014, 2015; Yang, 2013) as well as other disciplines ( Hart & Memnun, 2015; Memnun & Akkaya, 2012). Meniado (2016), for instance, investigated the relationship among metacognitive reading strategies, reading motivation, and reading comprehension performance of 60 randomly selected college-level EFL students. The findings revealed that there is a positive correlation between metacognitive reading strategies and reading motivation. Similar results were obtained by Iwai (2016), who explored pre-service teachers' metacognitive reading strategies in teacher education program. Metallidou (2009) examined 338 primary school teachers' metacognitive knowledge about problemsolving strategies. The findings indicated highlighted the existence of a general metacognitive knowledge base for specific problem-solving strategy use across problem solving situations.

Examining the process of building metacognitive awareness within ESP genre-based academic reading and writing instruction among pre-service Swedish English teachers, Negretti & Kuteeva (2011) found that the participants developed declarative and procedural metacognitive knowledge of genre-relevant aspects of academic texts. However, only a few participants showed conditional knowledge of the genre in their reading analyses and writing assignments. They concluded that application of metacognition framework to study L2 academic writing can provide new insights and practical applications for successful L2 instruction. Oz (2015) recently explored 87 pre-service English teachers' metacognitive awareness. His findings showed that a great majority of the participants had very high levels of metacognitive awareness. Additionally, knowledge of cognition significantly correlated with regulation of cognition, supporting the contention that cognitive knowledge plays a facilitative role in cognitive regulation (Oz, 2015; Schraw, 1998). Sun (2013) also found a significant correlation between frequency of metacognitive strategies use and English proficiency among non-English major college students in China.

2.2. Attitudes toward foreign language learning

Over the past five decades, research into motivation and attitudes toward L2 learning has been influenced by Gardner and Lambert's (1972) work on the attitudinal/ motivational aspects of second language acquisition in Canadian context. According to Gardner and Lambert (1972), attitudes and motivation are central to successful language learning. That is, L2 learning is greatly affected by learners' attitudes toward learning an L2 and target language group. Gardner's (1985) socioeducational model postulates that attitudes toward learning situation and integrativeness or integrative motivation are key factors in motivated L2 learning. Indeed, the model views positive

affective disposition toward learning an L2 and the desire to interact and identification with members of L2 community as the main factors in L2 achievement. Stated otherwise, the core content of socioeducational model of second language learning is that individuals learn another language in order to integrate and identify with another language community and culture (Oz, 2016; Oz, Demirezen, & Pourfeiz, 2015).

Following socioeducational model of L2 acquisition, it is argued that highly motivated learners with a positive attitude coupled with strong set of individual difference variables such as verbal aptitude and intelligence will successfully develop proficiency in the language (Yang, 2013). Dornyei (2005, p.65) asserts that "without sufficient motivation, even individuals with the most remarkable abilities cannot accomplish long term goals". Similarly, Masgoret and Gardner (2003) argue that attitudes are important for successful L2 learning and language achievement. They assert, however, that attitudes indirectly affect language achievement through the mediation of motivation. As a reaction to the inadequacy of socioeducational model of learning an L2, especially the integrativeness dimension, several process-oriented approaches emerged during the past decade. Yashima (2002), for instance, introduced "Intercultural Posture" construct as a general attitude toward international community which greatly affects motivation to learn L2. Indeed, international posture also entails integrativeness or integrative motivation and they are not mutually explosive. As Yashima (2009, p. 145) asserts, "While influenced by integrativeness, international posture, on the other hand, tries to capture a tendency to relate oneself to the international community rather than any specific L2 group, as a construct more pertinent to EFL contexts". Likewise, Dornyei (2005, 2014), Dornyei & Chan (2013), and Csizér and Dornyei (2005) maintained that motivation to learn an L2 cannot be adequately accounted for by integrativeness construct. Rather, an individual's self-guides and his/her future self-images, more specifically a person's ideal L2 self as "the L2-specific dimension of the learner's ideal self" (Csizér & Dornyei, 2005, p. 30), are responsible for language achievement.

Researchers have already established a link between metacognition and motivation (Broussard &Garrison, 2004; Eisenberg, 2010; Martinez, 2006; Lai, 2011; Schraw et al., 2006). Schraw et al. (2006, p. 112) while relating metacognition to learner beliefs and attitudes maintain that the two primary subcomponents of motivation, i.e. self-efficacy and self confidence to handle learning tasks and epistemological beliefs about the origin and nature of knowledge (Lai, 2011) are central to metacognitive knowledge and can "affect the use and development of cognitive and metacognitive skills". Motivation is also defined as "the attribute that moves us to do or not to do something" (Broussard & Garrison, 2004, p. 106). Even though metacognition is mainly concerned, by definition, with cognitive processes, it also entails affective and motivational states and concerns with the management of affective states (Lai, 2011; Martinez, 2006). Eisenberg (2010) relates metacognition to "emotion-related self-regulation" which is concerned with "monitoring and regulating the impact of emotions and motivational states on one's performance and parallels the regulation of cognition involved in the executive functioning dimension of metacognition" (Lai, 2011,p.l3).

Given the importance of metacognitive awareness in influencing learning behavior and its close link with attitudes, beliefs, and motivation, empirical studies to validate this link and determine to what extent metacognitive awareness is capable of affecting attitudes toward learning among pre-service English teachers in teacher education programs. The present study, therefore, investigated the importance of metacognitive awareness of pre-service English teachers in shaping their attitudes toward learning English. The purpose was to provide response to the following research questions:

1. What are pre-service English teachers perceived levels of metacognitive awareness?

2. How well do metacognitive awareness predict the variability in pre-service English teachers' perceptions of attitudes toward foreign language learning?

3. Methodology

3.1. Research design

A quantitative research design was used in the study and survey methodology employed to collect data. The main objective was to obtain the participants' perceptions of their metacognition attitudes through an online survey. As quantitative research design with survey methodology enables to get information in a quick and economical way within a short period of time, this type of research design is considered a convenient tool Creswell (2012).

3.2. Setting and participants

The participants were 104 pre-service English teachers enrolled in a pre-service EFL teacher education program at a major state university in Turkey. All participants voluntarily participated in the study and gave consent for data collection. The participants (N= female: 78, 75%; male: 25, 25%) were asked to complete an online survey. They ranged in age from 19to25 years (M = 20.28, SD = 0.95).

3.3. Measures

3.3.1. Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI)

The participants' metacognitive awareness levels were measured using Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI: Schraw & Dennison, 1994). The MAI is a 52 item based on 7-point Likert scale ranging from 1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree. Indeed, following various conceptualizations of the metacognition construct, the MAI was developed to measure metacognitive awareness based on the two agreed-upon components of knowledge of cognition (17 items) and regulation of cognition (35 items) and the underlying subscales of declarative, procedural, and conditional knowledge for metacognitive knowledge and planning, information management skills, monitoring, debugging strategies, and evaluation for metacognitive regulation. The internal consistency of the scale for overall metacognitive awareness was a =.96. As for the main components, the internal consistency reliability for metacognitive knowledge was a =.94 and metacognitive regulation was a =.95. Furthermore, the internal consistency reliability for three subscales of metacognitive knowledge was a= .90 for declarative knowledge, a=.90, procedural knowledge a =.89, and a=.85 for conditional knowledge. Similarly, the internal consistency for subscales of metacognitive regulation were found to be acceptable, ranging from a=.89 to a = .85 (planning .89, information management skills .87, monitoring .87, debugging strategies .88, and evaluation .85).

3.3.2. Attitudes

In order to measure the participants' attitudes toward foreign language learning, the attitudes toward foreign language learning (A-FLL) Scale (Vandewaetere & Desmet, 2009) was employed. The A-FLL is a 31 item questionnaire which measures the participants' attitudes based on 7-point (ranging from "totally disagree" to "totally agree") Likert scale. It measures attitudes toward foreign language learning in three major components: cognitive component, affective/evaluative component with three sub-scales, and behavioral component with four subscales. The internal consistency of overall A-FLL in the present study was a= .92

3.4. Procedures for data collection and analysis

The present study was conducted in a pre-service English teacher education program at a state university in Ankara/Turkey. The data were analyzed using IBM SPSS Statistics 23, a comprehensive computer program used to help researchers perform statistical analysis quickly and accurately. Descriptive statistics were used to obtain the participants' perceived levels of metacognitive awareness. To begin with, the participants scores on the whole scale were computed to obtain their perfect score for all components and subcomponents. Next, the frequently used cutoff points in the literature (Oz, 2015; Memnun & Akkaya, 2012; Hart & Memnun, 2015 ) were utilized to categorize the perfect scores of participants' perceptions of metacognitive knowledge and regulation into four mean ranges of Very High (3.75-5), High (2.50-3.74), Low (1.25-2.49), and Very Low (0- 1.24). Later, using structural equation modelling (SEM) and analysis of moment structures (AMOS), the relationship between variables was measured. AMOS was used to ensure the accuracy of results obtained in a single model (Kline, 2011; Tabachnick & Fidel, 2013) and provide more reliable results.

4. Results

The findings revealed that nearly seven out of ten (68%) of the participants reported a very high level of metacognitive knowledge, nearly 3 out of ten of the participants (29%) had a high level of metacognitive knowledge, and only 3% of the participants were found to have low level of metacognitive knowledge. None of the participants had very level of metacognitive awareness for knowledge of cognition. Similarly, as shown in Table 1, 66% of the participants showed a very high level of metacognitive regulation and 34% of them had a high level of metacognitive regulation. Surprisingly, nobody had neither low nor very low levels of metacognition for regulation of cognition component of metacognitive awareness.

Table 1. Distribution ofmetacognitive awareness ofpre-service English teachers

Metacognitive awareness Knowledge of Cognition Frequency % Regulation of Cognition Frequency %

Very High 71 68 69 66

High 30 29 35 34

Low 3 3 0 0

Very Low 0 0 0 0

Total 104 100 104 100

The analysis of moment structures revealed a significant positive path from the two major components of metacognitive awareness to attitudes toward foreign language learning. An inspection of squared multiple correlations estimate revealed that both knowledge of cognition and regulation of cognition significantly predicted variance in the participants' attitudes toward foreign language learning, together explaining 35% of variance in overall perceptions of attitudes toward foreign language learning. As seen in Figure 1, knowledge of cognition significantly correlated with ROC (r =.92). Further analysis indicated that knowledge of cognition had stronger predictive power (^=.42,p<.001) than regulation of cognition (^=.18,p<.001). Goodness-of-fit indices were found to be %2/df=4.76, GFI=.97, CFI=.96, and RMSEA=.04, showing an acceptable model fit indices for the data.

Note: KOC= Knowledge of Cognition; ROC= Regulation of Cognition; A_FLL= Attitudes toward Foreign Language Learning

Metacognitive awareness also emerged as strong predictor of subscales of attitudes toward foreign language learning. Knowledge of cognition and regulation of cognition predicted 38% of variance in cognitive dimension, 26% in affective/evaluative, and 14% in behavioral dimensions of attitudes toward foreign language learning, with metacognitive knowledge as being strong predictor of cognitive and behavioral dimension (^=.54, p< .001 and P=A1, p< .001, respectively) and regulation of cognition as the strong predictor of affective/evaluative dimension (^=.43, p< .001). Goodness-of-fit indices were %2ldf=4.50, GFI=.97, CFI=.96, and RMSEA=.04.

Figure 1. The relationship between metacognitive awareness and attitudes toward foreign language learning

Figure 2. The relationship between metacognitive awareness and subcomponents ofattitudes toward foreign language learning

Further analyses were run to find out whether there is a path from subscales of the main components of metacognitive awareness to attitudes toward foreign language learning. As illustrated in Figure 3, there were significant positive paths from declarative and conditional knowledge to attitudes toward foreign language learning, while negative path was observed from procedural knowledge to attitudes toward foreign language learning. The three underlying subcomponents of metacognitive knowledge also significantly predicted overall attitudes toward foreign language learning. The analysis of squared multiple correlations revealed that, together, they accounted for 38% of variance in the participants' overall perceptions of attitudes toward foreign language learning. Conditional knowledge was the strongest subscale (/H45, p< .001) followed by declarative knowledge as the second strongest predictor variable (^=.35, p< .001). Furthermore, there were significantly strong correlations among all three subscales of metacognitive knowledge.

Figure 3. The relationship between subcomponents ofmetacognitive knowledge and attitudes toward foreign language learning

Note: DK= Declarative Knowledge; PK= Procedural Knowledge; CK=Conditional knowledge; A_FLL= Attitudes toward Foreign Language Learning

Finally, the results of structural equation modeling, as illustrated in Figure 4, showed that components of metacognitive regulation appeared as significant predictor of attitudes toward foreign language learning. There were significant positive paths from planning, debugging strategies, and evaluation to attitudes toward foreign language learning, while the path from information management skills to attitudes toward foreign language learning was found to be negative. All in all, they explained 35% of variance in attitudes toward foreign language learning, with planning as the strongest predictor (^=.35, p< .001) and debugging strategies as the second strongest predictor variable. Like metacognitive component, there were strong correlations among the five subscales of metacognitive knowledge. The Goodness-of-fit indices were y}/df=4.25, GFI=.96, CFI=.95, and RMSEA=.03.

Figure 4. The relationship between subcomponents ofmetacognitive knowledge and attitudes toward foreign language learning Note: P = Planning; IMS = Information Management Skills; M = Monitoring; DS = Debugging Strategies; E = Evaluation; A_FLL= Attitudes toward Foreign Language Learning

5. Discussion

The findings of the present study indicated that a great majority of the participants had very high levels of metacognitive awareness for both knowledge ad regulation of cognition. Similar results were found by other researchers in teacher education programs (Abdellah, 2015; Memmnun & Akkaya, 2012; Oz, 2014, 2015; Sun, 2013). These findings indicate that most pre-service teachers are metacognitively aware, suggesting that high levels

of metacognitive awareness are central to practical and professional development of pre-service teachers (Hart & Memnun, 2015; Zentoz, 2012). Therefore, curriculum developers and teacher education programs should aim at developing metacognitively aware teachers since preparing metacognitively aware teachers is prerequisite for having metacognitively aware students (Anderson, 2012). On the other hand, teacher trainers should be aware of their students' metacognition and attitudes toward learning an L2. This awareness can be taught and increased using various kinds of strategy use (Oxford, 2011; O'Malley & Chamot, 1990).

The findings of the study also revealed that metacognitive awareness significantly predicted the participants' attitudes toward foreign language learning. Knowledge of cognition and regulation of cognition explained 35% of variance in their attitudes, with major contribution from knowledge of cognition. Another important finding of the study was the highest level of strong correlation (r=.92 or 85%) between knowledge of cognition and regulation of cognition. This corroborates and validates the contention that components of metacognition are intercorrelated. A 25% intercorrelation (r=.50) between the main components of metacognitive awareness has been established by prior research (Schraw, 1998; Schraw & Dennison, 1994). As seen, knowledge of cognition has more predictive power than regulation of cognition, suggesting that metacognitive knowledge supports and facilitates metacognitive regulation. The higher range of intercorrelation between the two basic components suggests that both components work in tandem, affecting learning behavior and, in this case, L2 learners' attitudes toward foreign language learning. Knowledge of cognition greatly affects cognitive and behavioral aspects of attitudes whereas regulatory sills influence affective dimension of attitudes. This underscores importance of metacognitive knowledge in determining behavioral and regulatory skills.

These findings provide further support for the findings of previous research that indicate that metacognitive knowledge affects and determines learning behavior. Abdellah (2015), for instance, found that metacognitive awareness positively affects pre-service teachers' academic performance. His findings also revealed that students with higher levels of metacognitive awareness had higher levels of teaching performance, were skillful planners and material organizers, and were good at using different kinds of strategies while controlling their teaching time. The findings of this study highlight the importance of metacognitive awareness among pre-service teachers, suggesting that in teacher education programs, teachers should be encouraged to use strategies that enhance their professional teaching skills. This is necessary since neglecting the development of using metacognitive and regulatory skills in teacher training programs may end up with unsatisfactory educational output. Recent research (Jafarzadeh, 2016; Prytula, 2012) has approved that in most of teacher training centers teaching metacognitive strategies often is taken into granted and even totally neglected.

In addition, the findings revealed that related subcomponents of metacognitive knowledge and regulation strongly predicted attitudes toward foreign language learning, especially declarative and conditional knowledge in knowledge of cognition and planning and debugging strategies in regulation of cognition. Conditional knowledge appeared to have greater predictive power than other subscales, underscoring the superiority of conditional knowledge over declarative and procedural knowledge. Indeed, conditional knowledge helps students to use their skills and strategies more effectively and to "adjust to the changing situational demands of each learning task" (Schraw, 1998, p. 114). On the other hand, planning and debugging strategies seemed to greatly affect the participant's attitudes toward foreign language learning. This highlights the importance of planning, goal setting, and changing strategies properly in motivating students toward effective learning. Put differently, the teachers' awareness of the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of goals and strategies in teaching process and their flexibility in goal setting and strategy use empower them to set goals and plan strategies or techniques that will help them cope with difficult tasks in their practical teaching.

6. Conclusion

The present study explored the relationship between metacognitive awareness and attitudes toward foreign language learning. The findings demonstrated higher levels of metacognitive awareness among pre-service English teachers. Additionally, the main components of metacognitive awareness significantly predicted overall attitudes and the related components. Subcomponents of metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive regulation were also found to be related to attitudes toward foreign language learning, predicting a substantial proportion of variance in

the participants' overall attitudes. These findings corroborate previous research over the last decades, which underscore the significance of metagonition construct in SLA research as well as other disciplines. They highlight the necessity of enhancing metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive regulation among pre-service English teachers through metacognitive awareness raising and instruction since enhanced metacognitive skills are potentially capable of empowering pre-service teachers. Therefore, as Anderson (2012, p. 182) puts it, "If we want metacognitively aware learners, we must have metacognitively aware teachers. (Anderson,2012, p. 182).

The findings indicated that metacognitive awareness had great impact on the participants' attitudes. From pedagogical perspective, this implies that metacognitively aware learners may hold more positive attitudes toward learning an L2 than metacognitively unaware learners. High levels of metacognitive awareness indicate that the participants are able to employ their metaconitive knowledge and regulatory skills in the whole teaching process and can plan, monitor, and evaluate their own teaching performance. Besides, this awareness positively affects their attitudes toward learning an L2. The implications are that teacher education programs need to incorporate metacognitive awareness courses to teacher education programs and they should make any effort to integrate explicit instruction of metacognitive strategy use in the curricula (Meniado, 2016). Moreover, an awareness of the students' attitudes encourages teachers to teach via variety strategies so as to enable all students to benefit from their instruction. Indeed, increased metacognitive awareness coupled with positive attitudes and greater motivation would result in successful language learning and create self-confidence and persistence among L2 learners. Therefore, integrating courses that help them promote their metacognitive awareness, both knowledge and regulation is an imperative need in English teacher education programs since "language teachers need not only to know about [italics in origin] an information-gap and how to use it, but also when and why to use it' (Oz, 2015, p.53) along with their enhanced skills in planning, monitoring, and evaluating their professional skills in the whole teaching process. From metacognitive and motivational perspectives, teachers also need to be aware of their role as motivators and encourage their learners to actively engage in metacognitive reflection which will, in turn, enable them to become self-regulated learners and self-assessors during language learning process (Dornyei, 2001).

The present study extended our understanding of metacognitive awareness, attitudes toward learning an L2 and the professional development of pre-service English teachers. However, the study is not without limitations. As stated earlier, the participants of the study were pre-service English teachers who are, by definition, expected to have higher levels of metacognitive awareness and equally the same levels of positive attitudes. Therefore, the findings of the study may not be readily applicable to teaching practices in other disciplines and even in EFL contexts other than teacher education and English language teaching (ELT) departments. Thus, in view of this and due to the lack of empirical evidence, the results should be interpreted and generalized with much caution. Otherwise, the findings might be biased with misleading consequences. What is more, as was stated previously in literature review, prior research has approved the existence of a link between metacognition and affective factors such as attitudes, motivation and emotion (O'Malley & Chamot, 1990; Lai, 2011; Schraw et al., 2006; Waninge, 2014). This implies that there might be a reciprocal relationship between metacognitive awareness and attitudes. The current study only focused on the viable impact of metacognitive awareness on attitudes. Further research, therefore, is needed to enquire if affective factors such as attitudes and motivation also attack metacognitive awareness.

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