The present study throws some light into an area that has been relatively untouched: it analyzes how differences in the beliefs or metacognitive knowledge (MK) held about writing relates to differences in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) writing skills. Data were collected from four undergraduate university Spanish students, two good writers and two poor writers, enrolled in EFL classes at the University of Barcelona. They were first required to take an English test and write an argumentative essay to assess their language and writing proficiency. Subsequently, they were interviewed and required to think aloud as they wrote another argumentative essay. This study revealed a number of areas in which the knowledge of the two pairs clearly differed. On the whole, these differences pointed to a more appropriate and comprehensive view of the writing process, which they were able to apply more flexibly. In contrast, the less successful writers' MK was limited and inadequate. Furthermore, the case studies also revealed the clear relationship that exists between the MK of the writers and the strategies they deployed, underscoring the major role played by MK in providing a rationale for the learners' approach to writing and researchers with a more thorough understanding of the learners' writing process.
- EFL writing
- Individual differences
- Learner strategies
- Metacognitive knowledge
- Successful and less successful learners