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BAAL / Cambridge University Press Seminar 2021-22

BAAL seminar series

Going Meta: Bringing together an understanding of metadiscourse with students’ metalinguistic understanding.

This seminar series focuses on metadiscourse and metalinguistic understanding for writing: current research in these areas exists as very separate fields of enquiry with little or no interaction between the two. Methodologically, metadiscourse tends to be explored through corpus studies, whilst metalinguistic understanding is researched through qualitative methods, reflecting the fact that metadiscourse has a textual focus, whilst metalinguistic understanding for writing has a writer focus. This seminar series brings together international researchers in these two fields to explore the synergies between these two and establish more helpful ways to advance both future research and pedagogical practice with a more coherent mode of their inter-relationship.

Bringing researchers in metadiscourse and metalinguistic understanding together, across both L1 and L2 research, will create a productive opportunity to consider the mutual insights from the two fields, or indeed identify any tensions or dissonances which may exist. Importantly, the seminar series will explore both theoretical research issues around metalinguistic understanding and metadiscourse and also the pedagogical implications of this. We hope the Seminar series will identifying fruitful further lines of research inquiry, and powerful potential impact on the teaching and learning of writing by bringing together both textual practices and writer understanding.

This seminar series should be of interest not only to researchers specifically looking at metadiscourse or metalinguistic understanding, but also more broadly to anyone interested in research in writing and its implications for learning and teaching.

Seminar Dates:

4th May Online: 9.00-12.30

Zoom link available through registration

The purpose of this opening seminar is to introduce the Writing the Future study and hear from other researchers internationally about their research on metadiscourse and/or metalinguistic understanding for writing.

Seminar Focus Questions

1. What do we know from research about metadiscourse in writing?
2. What do we know from research about the metalinguistic understanding of writing?
3. What are the possible connections and disconnections between the two?

Download seminar day 1 outline

24th May: 10.00-4.00

Room Baring Court 220, Graduate School of Education, University of Exeter, UK.
Zoom link for online participants available through registration.

The purpose of this seminar is to facilitate interactive discussion about the possibilities and potentials of bringing together research on metadiscourse and metalinguistic understanding for writing.

Seminar Focus Questions

  • What are the synergies and dissonances between metadiscourse research and research into the metalinguistic understanding of argument writing?
  • Why does corpus linguistics matter in our understanding of metadiscourse and how might it be useful to teachers of writing?
  • How might Hallidayan functional orientations to language provide a way to bring together metadiscourse and metalinguistic understanding?
  • How can/should metalinguistic understanding of metadiscourse be incorporated into writing pedagogy?
  • Can we create a coherent and unified model of metadiscourse and metalinguistic understanding in argument writing?

Download seminar day 2 outline

7th June Online: 9.00-12.30

Zoom link available through registration

The purpose of this seminar is to begin to plan a possible Special Issue for a relevant journal, on integrating metadiscourse and metalinguistic understanding, which reflects the outcomes of the seminar.

Seminar Focus Questions

  • What might be the driving questions for a Special Issue?
  • What might the Call for Papers briefing cover?
  • What journal is the most appropriate for this Special Issue?
  • What are the next steps to see this through to completion?

Download seminar day 3 outline


If you would like to participate and register, please contact Debra Myhill.