T6 Vye


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Learning autonomy and getting better at English at the same time (Talk T6)

Presenter: Stacey Vye, Saitama University, Japan

When learners take control of their own learning, the phenomenon helps increase meaningful engagement in the language while reducing a need for tight reigns of control by the advisor. However, what about the learners’ language improvement? Will there be language proficiency gains along with increased learner autonomy? This one year study in progress is made possible by a grant provided by The Japanese Ministry of Education and Technology (MEXT) that attempts to clarify how 20 students at Saitama University’s English Language Center (ERC) learn and improve in English autonomously with collaborative support from peers and the advisor. Subsequently, the pre and post test scores of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) will be correlated with an illuminative evaluation revealing data about how, when, and what the students do to learn English. In addition, how they choose to involve their peers and advisor in their study plans will be explained.

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T6 Vye

  1. 1. Learner Autonomy & Getting Better at English at the Same Time Advising2011 Kanda University of International StudiesAn IATEFL Learner Autonomy SIG & KUIS Event  November 12th, 2011 Stacey Vye Saitama University, Japan <stacey.vye@gmail.com>
  2. 2. The Context: English Resource Center (ERC), Saitama University Japan the ERC is open to the entire student body at Saitama University from 3pm ~5pm the learners are literally encouraged to come and ask teachers about anything related to English originated from a humble existence in 2004 from a borrowed classroom-see the Autumn 2010 article in LA-SIG IATEFL’s Independence for more details 21-24: Learning that doesn’t label what ‘kind’ of autonomy is appropriate Stacey Vye with Andy Barfield & Androulla Athanasiou
  3. 3. Socially Situated Autonomy: Clash rather than Crash in the ERC Edith Esch’s work (2009) on the conceptual distortions between individual personal autonomy she calls crash and critical socially situated autonomy that she labels clash —that is a tension for genuine dialogues to be discussed. In the ERC, the continuum scale leans towards the clash side; the approach of peer and teacher interaction is more
  4. 4. Measuring the Autonomous Shift & Language Improvement too! made possible by a grant provided by The Ministry of Education and Technology of Japan (Grant-in-Aid Scientific Research – C) the measure improvement of in English is made through autonomous language learning practices designed by over 20 and maybe all 26 learners themselves for 2 semesters AND…..
  5. 5. …AND compares the levels of English by a pre and post tests of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) ~before and after the study
  6. 6. Measuring the Autonomous Shift & Language Improvement too! The test scores will be correlated with an illuminative evaluation (Richards, 2001) that will reveal data about what students do to study English and measure which autonomous language studies are beneficial. The learners will report the amount of time it takes to achieve possible English improvement.
  7. 7. Why? Had to write a grant! Didn’t think I would get it & was told I had slim chances of getting it, so I just wrote what I thought would catch the powers that be to listen. And get money for my students (some think that’s crazy!) Noticed a gap in the field of research I really enjoy: learner autonomy theorists painstakingly define the process, capacity, and the theory, but fewer studies on measuring improvement of the learners’ language skills.
  8. 8. The IELT’s TEAM in Japan Supported me by making test announcement flyers and posters Worked with me and the university to have the test held at our school in a single day Recommend working with the English exam representatives: They are there to make things easier for you! They can give data for the general test population.
  9. 9. Seminars of the Learners Choice in the Center/Centre (ERC)All 26 students agreed to meet once a week during one of these periods (however they can meet as much as they like)Tuesday: 4th & 5th periodsThursday: 1st & 4th periodsFriday: 1st period
  10. 10. Know the Know the Rules!Schedul e!
  11. 11. Rules: Don’t use the Grant MoneyCount the for Beer (What happened before)! Money!
  12. 12. Do all of theScience, Research, and Calculations!
  13. 13. Write StuffDown and Don’t Forget!
  14. 14. If you are not sure of other rules please check theMEXT Homepages for more information!
  15. 15. Conclusion The aim is that the leanrers will experience a shift from the focus on the teacher lecturing English to that where the student continually connects with a foreign language on his or her own accord and gets better at English at the same time!
  16. 16. ReferencesEsch, E. (2009). Crash or clash? Autonomy 10 years on. In R. Pemberton, S. Toogood & A. Barfield (Eds), Maintaining control: Autonomy in language learning (113-26). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.Richards, J. (2001). Curriculum development in language teaching. Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press.Vye, S., Barfield, A. & Anthanasiou, A. (2010). Learning that doesn’t label what ‘kind’ of
  17. 17. Thank you! <stacey.vye@gmail.com>