元认知理论是由美国心理学家J. H. Flavell提出先将1976。他把它描述为：“元认知是指一个人的知识关于自己的认知过程或与之相关的东西，例如，学习相关的属性信息或数据”（Flavell，1976:231）。吴赫平（2000:14）提出“元认知元认知更简单，可以简单地定义为思考思考”。Flavell（1979）认为，元认知策略分为元认知知识和元认知策略。自从Flavell提出元认知理论，越来越多的研究已经进行了探讨元认知与不同学习任务之间的关系。作为元认知的重要组成部分，元认知策略是指学习者使用的计划、管理策略、监控和评价自己的学习。O'Malley和Chamot（2001）认为他们是高阶的管理技能，包括计划、监控和评价学习活动的成功。他们是一般的技能，通过学习者管理，指导，规范和指导他们的学习（布朗等，1983）。国内外许多研究发现，使用这些策略的差异是导致学习者学习成绩差异的主要因素之一。元认知策略是一种学习策略，能有效地帮助学生进行英语学习。乔林（2005）指出，元认知策略的使用可以激发人的思维，并能导致更深刻的学习和提高性能。O’Malley et al.。（自主动力）也提出一个观点：“没有元认知方法的学生基本上是学习者没有方向，或机会，制定学习计划，监控自己的进展或审查他们的成就和未来的学习方向。
The theory of metacognition was first put forward by American psychologist J. H. Flavell in 1976. He described it as follows: "Metacognition refers to one's knowledge concerning one's own cognitive process or anything related to them, e.g, the learning-relevant properties of information or data" (Flavell, 1976:231). Wu Heping (2000:14) puts Metacognition more simply, "Metacognition can be defined simply as thinking about thinking." Flavell (1979) holds that metacognition is divided into metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive strategies. Since Flavell advocated the theory of metacognition, increasing number of studies have been undertaken to investigate the relationship between metacognition and different learning tasks.As an important component of metacognition, metacognitive strategies refer to strategies used by learners to plan, manage, monitor and evaluate their learning. O'Malley and Chamot (2001) consider they are high-order executive skills that entail planning for, monitoring or evaluating the success of a learning activity. They are general skills through which learners manage, direct, regulate and guide their learning (Brown et al, 1983). Many researches both at home and abroad have found that the difference in using these strategies is one of the main factors leading to the different learning proficiency between good and poor learners. Metacognitive strategy is one of learning strategies, which can effectively help students with English learning. Anderson (2005) points out that the use of metacognitive strategies can ignite one's thinking and can lead to more profound learning and improved performance. O'Malley et al. (1985:6) also make a point: "Students without metacognitive approaches are essentially learners without direction, or opportunity to plan their learning, monitor their progress or review their accomplishments and future learning directions."