Narrative learning, EAL and metacognitive development

Martin Cortazzi, Lixian Jin

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


This paper elaborates some aspects of narrative learning-defined here as learning to tell stories and learning from, about and through narratives-in the context of primary-age pupils who use English as an Additional Language (EAL). The paper introduces some principles to support their language development in classroom interaction. We argue that linguistically orientated research on metacognitive strategy development is not necessarily readily applied to EAL learners. After presenting a background on narrative, narrative development and social aspects of telling stories, we introduce an approach to narrative development which encourages a cycle telling and retelling of stories which provides EAL learners with layered opportunities for developing the metacognitive features of planning, remembering, understanding and reflecting on storytelling. This is enabled through the use of written 'keywords', which are used in conjunction with 'story maps' (which outline the narrative structure and content) together with classroom photos. While the focus of the paper is on EAL learners, the visual approach described here can be used with narrative (or factual information) for many other young children and has been used by speech and language therapists to develop specific aspects of language for speech and language impaired children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-660
Number of pages16
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number6-7
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • EAL
  • Keywords
  • Metacognition
  • Narrative
  • Story maps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics


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