I describe it as the ability to seek-out, elicit, and consider different information and various perspectives of situations, fairly weigh the evidence on all sides and how it all connects to existing background knowledge, and then use that process to come to an independent conclusion.
Carol Dweck, the psychologist well-known for her work on a growth mindset suggests that creating opportunities for students to clearly see for themselves the growth in their own knowledge can help give them a
Metacognition has the common definition of "thinking about thinking" (see The Best Posts On Metacognition). In other words, it is the self-awareness to know what our strengths and weaknesses are, and how and when to apply the former and compensate for the latter.
During that period I spent most of my time working for a national organization called the Industrial Areas Foundation, founded by legendary organizer Saul Alinsky in the late 1930's. Local groups of religious congregations, labor unions and community groups would come together in different cities and contract with the IAF for training and staffing needs to help them build an organization to improve their neighborhoods and change the power dynamics of their cities.
A number of studies suggest that correction - either through prompts that point out the error to a student and require an immediate attempt at a "repair" or through "recasts" when teachers rephrase correctly what the student said - can be a useful tool to assist language acquisition.
In other words, vocabulary.
Acquisition vs. Learning
Most researchers acknowledge a distinction between language acquisition and language learning. A simple, rudimentary explanation of the difference is that acquisition involves being able to easily use the language to communicate, while language learning might place more emphasis on filling out grammar worksheets correctly. This does not mean, however, that the two are mutually exclusive.
Many schools, especially those with small English Language Learner populations, do not create separate classes for Beginners and Intermediates. What are a few instructional strategies that we can use in such an environment that provides an effective learning environment for our students and that doesn't drive the teacher insane at the same time?
Here are a few: