Concepts Of Learner Autonomy En Son Version 4 MayıS 2006
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Concepts Of Learner Autonomy En Son Version 4 MayıS 2006

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Concepts Of Learner Autonomy En Son Version 4 MayıS 2006 Concepts Of Learner Autonomy En Son Version 4 MayıS 2006 Presentation Transcript

  • LITERATURE CIRCLES: AN EMPIRICAL TOOL FOR LEARNER AUTONOMY IN READING CLASSES By Dr. Işıl Günseli Kaçar The Department of Basic English, METU 9th International METU Convention, May 5, 2006
  • The Concept of Learner Autonomy • Over the last two decades, autonomy has been a topic of popular discussion in the field of foreign language teaching (Brookes and Grundy, 1988; Dam, 1988; Dickinson, 1987; Holec, 1981; Little, 1991; Dickinson and Wenden, 1995).
  • • Just as ‘communicative’ and ‘authentic’ were two buzzwords of the 1980s, learner autonomy emerged as the strategy of choice in teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in the 1990s (Broady and Kenning, 1996; Little, 1990).
  • • This popularity is not surprising, taking into consideration that the concept is in accord with several of our central pedagogical preoccupations.
  • • The term “autonomy” has been used in at least five ways (Benson and Voller, 1997: 2): • Situations in which learners study entirely on their own • A set of skills which can be learned and applied in self- directed learning (i.e., the ability to define objectives, define contents, and so on) • An inborn capacity which is suppressed by institutional education • The exercise of learners’ responsibility for their own learning • The right of learners to determine the direction of their own learning
  • Justification for Fostering Learner Autonomy • Language teachers’ adopting the objective of helping learners to attain some measure of autonomy is frequently justified in the literature. • Little (1991): • 1.Because the learner sets the agenda, learning should be more focused and more purposeful, and thus more effective both immediately and in the longer term.
  • • 2. Because responsibility for the learning process lies with the learner, the barriers between learning and living that are found in traditional learning-led educational structures should not arise. • 3. If there are no barriers between learning and living, • learners should have little difficulty in transferring their capacity for autonomous behaviour to all other areas of their lives.This should make them more useful members of society and more effective participants in the democratic process. (p.8) • See also Holec (1981) and Dickinson (1987) for similar arguments
  • • In mainstream education, the claim that autonomy is linked with more effective learning is expressed strongly. • Wang and Peverly (1986) review findings of strategy research in subjects other than language learning and conclude: • Independent and autonomous learners are those who have the capacity for being active and independent in the learning process. • They can identify goals, and formulate their own goals to suit their own learning needs and interests. • They are able to use learning strategies, and monitor their own learning.
  • Autonomy as a Capacity • In the applied linguistics literature, autonomy is seen as a capacity for active, independent learning. • Little (1991) sees autonomy as a “capacity for detachment, critical reflection, decision making and independent action” (p. 4). • Autonomous learners possess the skills necessary to carry out a self-directed learning program, i.e., the ability to define objectives, define contents and so on (Little, 1991, p. 14) • Autonomous learners possess both knowledge about the alternatives from which they make choices and necessary skills to carry out whatever choice seem most appropriate.
  • Autonomy as an Attitude towards Learning • Autonomy can also be seen as an attitude towards learning in which the learner is prepared to take, or does take, responsibility for his own learning. • To take responsibility for one’s own learning concerns decision making about one’s own learning (Dickinson, 1993, p. 330) • Littlewood (1996: 98): • “Students’ willingness to act independently depends on the level of their motivation and confidence”. • “Students’ ability to act independently depends on their level of their knowledge and skills”.
  • • The understanding of autonomy as a capacity or attitude rather than as an overt action is important. • Autonomy and autonomous learning are not synonymous with ‘self-instruction’ , ‘self-access’, ‘out-of-class learning’ or ‘distance learning’. • Self-instruction: various ways and degrees of learning by one’s self • Autonomy: a capacity or an attitude
  • • Learning in isolation is not the same as having the capacity to direct one’s own learning. • These two concepts does not have to exist independently, as the ability to be able to work in isolation can play a role in autonomous learning. • The ideal situation is one where learners maintain their autonomy in teacher-directed classroom settings as well as in settings such as self-access learning centers.
  • Key Concepts of Autonomy • All definitions of autonomy share certain key concepts: • Learner independence • Learner responsibility • Learner choice • Other concepts entailed by the key concepts (Dickinson, 1995): • Decision making • Critical reflection • Detachment • These are all important in cognitive motivation (Dickinson, 1995)
  • Links between Autonomy and Motivation • Findings obtained from several areas of research into motivation in general education: • 1. Motivation to learn and learning effectiveness can be increased in learners • who take responsibility for their own learning, • who understand and accept that their own learning successes or failures are to be attributed to their own efforts and strategies rather than to factors outside their control • 2. Failure can be overtaken with greater effort and better use of strategies (Wang and Palincsar, 1989)
  • • Motivation tends to be higher in learners • who are interested in the learning tasks and the learning outcomes for their own sake rather than for rewards that result from success (Deci and Ryan, 1985) • who focus on learning outcomes rather than performance outcomes (Dweck, 1986)
  • • Kenny (1993) • Education empowers autonomy. • This empowerment allows the learners opportunities to generate knowledge, as opposed to being passive consumers of it. • Learners must initiate, plan, organize and carry out work of their own, which can lead to the challenge of innate belief systems and assumptions. • This begins to unblock people’s capacities for independent and interdependent thought and action.
  • • Autonomy is not a matter of • permitting choice in learning situations • making pupils responsible for the activities they undertake.
  • • Autonomy is • of allowing and encouraging learners, • through processes deliberately set up for the purpose, • to begin to express who they are, what they think and what they would like to do, in terms of work they initiate and define for themselves (the exploration of the self-concept) • to realize group potential (Kenny, 1993).
  • • Nunan (1997): • “Encouraging learners to move towards autonomy is best done inside the language classroom”.
  • Teacher roles for autonomy-inducing classes • Voller (1997) identifies three roles for teachers: • the teacher as facilitator • the teacher as counsellor • the teacher as resource
  • Literature circles as an arena for experiential learning • Experiential learning is one context in which autonomy receives a fuller exploitation (Kenny, 1993). • Literature Circles are one of the arenas for experiential learning. • They were originally developed for use in L1 classrooms. • Later on they were tailored to the EFL/ ESL environment. • Many current models of literature circles for use in ESL/EFL are based on the work of teacher/researcher Harvey Daniels and his colleagues in Chicago. • EFL / ESL literature circles are fun, focused classroom- based student reading and discussion groups which naturally combine the skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening.
  • Recent Research on Literature Circles • A study of fourth graders by Klinger, Vaughn, and Schumm (1998): • Students in peer-led groups made greater gains than controls in reading comprehension and equal gains in content knowledge after a reading and discussing social studies material in peer-led groups. • A study by Martinez-Roldan and Lopez-Robertson (2000) into the effect of literature circles in a first-grade bilingual classroom: • Young bilingual children, no matter what their linguistic background, are able to have rich discussions if they have regular opportunities to engage with books. • Benefits for resistant learners (Hauschildt and McMahon, 1996) • Benefits for adolescents (Hill and Van Horn, 1995) • Benefits for second-language learners (MacGillivray, 1995) • Benefits for EFL learners (Dupuy, 1997) • Literature circles have been found to increase student enjoyment of and enegagement in reading (Fox and Wilkinson, 1997); to expand children’s discourse opportunities (Kaufmann, et al., 1997; Scharer, 1996), to increase multicultural awareness (Hansen- Krening, 1997); to promote other perspectives on social issues (Noll, 1994).
  • Literature Circles • are student-centered: They are student created, not teacher driven, not boring • promote rigorous learning: They are engaging and interesting because it is not traditional • improve cognitive reading skills: They guide students to deeper understanding of of what they read through structured discussion and extended written and artistic response. They provide a way for students to engage in critical thinking and reflection as they read, discuss, and respond to books. • bring in student’s personal schemata: Readers create unique ideas • eliminate student avoidance from speaking: They provide collaborative learning opportunities with group members: Students reshape and add onto their understanding as they construct meaning with other readers. They cater for a variety of learning styles.
  • Literature Circles are • Reader-response centered • Part of a balanced reading program • Structured for student independence, responsibility, and ownership • Guided primarily by student insights and questions • Intended as a context in which to apply reading and writing skills • Flexible and fluid • (Adapted from Noe and Johnson,1999)
  • Literature Circles are NOT: • Teacher or text centered • The entire curriculum • The unstructured, uncontrolled ‘talking time’ with no accountability • Led chiefly by teacher- or curriculum-based questions • Meant to replace skills work • Related to a prescriptive ‘recipe’ • (Adapted from Noe and Johnson,1999)
  • • Great progress has been made in the exploration and implementation of the concept of autonomy.However, relatively little importance has been attached to the formal academic discussion of the concept in the tertiary EFL contexts.
  • • Both anecdotal evidence and evidence from empirical research studies indicate that the majority of the EFL learners all over the world have little incentive to undertake learning outside their studies and tend to limit their work to what is taught on the course (Pierson, 1996; Balla et al., 1991; Yanling, 2005). • Turkish learners of EFL in the tertiary context are no exception to the common cohort. • Most of such learners, especially those attending one-year intensive English language teaching programs prior to their departmental studies offered by universities, fail to pursue individual learning opportunities due to a lack of motivation.
  • The Study • Design: Qualitative and quantitative • Aim: • This longitudinal study set out to • investigate the impact of the implementation of an autonomy-inducing program on the attitudes and the success of the EFL learners at the Department of Basic English, METU, an English- medium university, related to the EFL reading skills.
  • Research Questions • 1. Does the autonomy-inducing program the EFL learners in the experimental group at the DBE are exposed to make a significant impact on their learning outcomes concerning EFL reading comprehension? • 2. What are the views of the EFL learners in the experimental group concerning the effectiveness of the autonomy-inducing program?
  • Participants • 48 intermediate-level Turkish learners of EFL participated in the study. • 24 learners were in the experimental group (9 female learners and 15 male learners). The researcher was also the teacher of the experimental group. • 24 learners were in the control group (7 female learners and 17 male learners). The control group was taught by an experienced colleague at the DBE. • The age range of the participants varied between 17 and 21. • All the participants in the study were exposed to intensive EFL instruction for 20 hours a week. • The learners in both groups were found to be at the same level of proficiency in EFL reading comprehension, as indicated by the pre- test results prior to the execution of the study.
  • Data Collection Instruments • Academic texts: • Four academic EFL texts were selected from the course book DBE Offline Readings II and implemented in class using the Literature Circles approach. • Three of the reading passages were incorporated into the study, taking into consideration that they appeal to the general interest of the DBE students. Three of these passages were about a foreigner’s perspective on different aspects of Turkish culture, extreme sports, primitive societies versus modern civilization. • The other passage was included in order to provide a challenge for the students. It was about a technical topic: chaos theory.
  • Assessment Forms for Group and Individual Performance Reflection • Reflection is regarded as a crucial part of the learner-centered approaches. • To facilitate the student reflection, group and individual performance reflection forms were developed. At the design stage of the forms, the form developed previously in • http://home.att.net/cscholz/litcircles/ ReflectLitCircle.htm was taken as example.
  • Reflection Sheet on Individual Performance in Literature Circles • Name: ------------------------ • Date: ------------------------ • Job: ------------------------- • Directions: Please answer the following 5 questions each in a separate paragraph. • 1. What did I do well today during our Literature Circles meeting? • 2. What do I still need to work on during our Literature Circles meetings? • 3. What was an important contribution I made to the discussion? Why was it important? • 4. What was an important idea expressed by someone else? Who mentioned it? Why was it important? 5. How do you evaluate your participation in the Literature Circles? What would you change about your presentation if you did it again?
  • Literature Circles Evaluation Form (for the teacher) You have created a You have created a You have not completed product that clearly complete product but the product for use in shows you have put you could have given it your literature circle. thought into your more thought, or it assignment / Your could be more clearly product provides insight related to the central into or highlights the themes of the central themes of the paragraph paragraph FOR THE PRODUCT
  • You have participated You have participated You were absent, or you actively, listening well in general, but you did not participate at attentively and asking could have asked more all. questions that questions or contribute to your contributed more group’s discussions comments to your group’s discussion. FOR PARTICIPATION IN YOUR LITERATURE CIRCLES
  • Group Reflection Sheet • Group name: • Group members: • A. Style of presentation (e.g., clarity, giving the message, explaining the topic well) • Comment: • Circle the relevant number related to the presentation • 5= Very effective 4= Effective 3= Effective on Average 2= Not effective 1= Very poor • B: Interaction with the audience (e.g., eye contact, asking audience questions, answering the questions from the audience) • Comment: • Circle the relevant number related to the presentation • 5= Very effective 4= Effective 3= Effective on Average 2= Not effective 1= Very poor • C: Organization • Comment: • Circle the relevant number related to the presentation • 5= Very effective 4= Effective 3= Effective on Average 2= Not effective 1= Very poor • D: Pronunciation • Comment: • Circle the relevant number related to the presentation
  • Survey on the Literature Circles • With a view to collecting the qualitative and quantitative data in the study, EFL learners in the experimental group were administered a survey on the Literature Circles. • The survey instrument was developed by the researcher, who was also the classroom teacher of the experimental group. At the design phase of the survey, a colleague at the DBE doing her M.A. in educational sciences and several experts specialized in educational sciences were consulted. • The survey instrument was prepared in English and the Turkish translation of the items were also provided. The learners were told to use either English or Turkish when answering the items. • The survey was composed of 24 items: 16 multiple choice items as well as 8 open-ended questions. • The multiple choice items were designed in the Likert-scale with 4 and 5 options
  • Sample Survey Items • Item 5: • How useful did you find literature circles in improving reading skills in English while doing DBE-offline readings ? (‘ Literature Circles’ metodu sizce okuma anlama becerisinin geliştirilmesinde ne ölçüde etkili oldu?) • a) very useful (çok yararlı) • b) useful (yararlı) • c) somewhat useful (kısmen yararlı) • D) not useful (yararsız)
  • • Item 6: • In what way did you find Literature Circles useful when compared to teacher oriented classes? (Öğretmen odaklı derslere kıyasla sizce hangi yönlerden ‘Literature Circles’ metodu faydalı oldu ?)
  • In-depth Interviews with the EFL Learners in the Experimental Group • The qualitative data in the study was obtained through the in-depth interviews with the learners. The learners were expected to provide further information on the survey items during the interviews. 24 items were utilized in the interviews.
  • Quantitative Data in the Study • The quantitative data in the study was obtained through the 4 pop quizzes and the two mid-terms administered during the first half of the 2005-2006 academic year.
  • Data Collection Procedures • Academic texts: • The learners were assigned six basic roles for Literature Circles: • Plot summarizer • Word wizard (The word wizard also prepares a vocabulary quiz) • Graphic organizer • Discussion director (The discussion director also prepares an overall quiz) • Culture collector • (From Daniel’s. H. (2002). Literature Circles in Book Clubs and Reading Groups. Second Edition. Portland, Maine: Stenhouse)
  • Plot Summarizer • The plot summarizer prepares a brief summary of the plot and reads it to the group. • The summary should be clear, complete, and accurate. • It should focus on key events that are central to the story. • It is not just copying the author’s words: instead, you it is paraphrasing. • Product: A written summary of key story events.
  • Plot Summarizer • Product: A written summary of key story events • Tell key events but leave out parts that are not essential. • Don’t copy from the text, create your text. • What is important and key? Events, facts, character actions or words, and development in plot • What is absolutely essential for everyone in the group to know about the reading? (What is the most important event in this reading?)
  • Word Wizard • The Word Wizard selects five words that are central to the chapter and presents them to the group in some creative way that will help the group learn them. • The Word Wizard is also required to prepare a vocabulary quiz using the words he/she has selected • Product: A vocabulary activity using five words
  • Word Wizard Example • Product: A vocabulary activity using five words. • Some kinds of words you might choose: • Funny words • New words • Unusual words • Words used in a new way • Hard words (From Suzie Throop http: //webtech.cherokee.k12.go.us/woodstock- es/Aim/litcirrolesheets.htm)
  • Graphic Organizer • The Graphic Organizer prepares a graphic (picture, chart, idea, map, etc.) of some or all of the key concepts or events from the chapter. • Product: A graphic representation
  • Discussion Director • The Discussion Director writes down three or four questions for discussion by the group and acts as the time- keeper for the group. • The questions should help group members understand and interpret the stories in insightful ways. • The Discussion Collector is also required to prepare an overall quiz to recap the main points in the paragraph and to provide an opportunity for the whole class to recycle the important words after the group presentation is over. • The Discussion Director should help confusion. • Product: A list of questions for discussion.
  • Discussion Director Example • Product: A list of questions for discussion • Here are some examples of questions you might ask: • What was going through your mind while you read this paragraph? • How did you feel while you read the paragraph? • Did the paragraph remind you of an experience you have had? • Can you make a prediction about what will happen next? (From Suzie Throop http: //webtech.cherokee.k12.go.us/woodstock- es/Aim/litcirrolesheets.htm)
  • Culture Collector • Discover and report on cultural underpinnings and historical background of the text. • Product: Compare and contrast text culture and own culture
  • Culture Collector Example • Product: Compare and contrast text culture and own culture • Does the text remind you of your life and culture? • Important life events • Important celebrations • Does the text talk about strange things compared to your life?
  • Classroom Instructions • PLOT SUMMARIZER: • Read your summary to your group. Answer your group members’ questions about your summary. • Other group members: Is the summary accurate? Does it focus on important events? Why or why not? Are the events in order?
  • Classroom Instructions • WORD WIZARD: • Present and explain your product. If it is an activity, make sure everyone understands what to do. • Other group members: Are the words important to the understanding of the paragraph? Why? Why not? Will you try to remember them for future use?
  • Classroom Instructions • GRAPHIC ORGANIZER: • Show your graphic to your group. How does it relate to the paragraph? • DISCUSSION DIRECTOR: • After everyone has presented his/her product, pose your questions, get a discussion going, and keep it going. If a group member is being silent, ask him / her a question • (Use classroom language: • “Would you like to add something?” • “What do you think?” • “Watch the time?” • Other group members: Get involved in discussion. • WHOLE GROUP: PREPARE TO PRESENT AND EXPLAIN BRIEFLY YOUR GROUP’S MOST INTERESTING PRODUCT TO THE CLASS.
  • Classroom Instructions • CULTURE CONNECTOR: • Look at the paragraph and note both differences and similarities between the culture represented in the paragraph and your own culture. • Other Group Members: Are the comparisons and contrasts complete? Why? Why not? • Can you think of any other examples?
  • Data Collection Process • I. Academic Texts • The learners were assigned to work in groups of five by the teacher. The group members were selected randomly. • The group members shared the roles. They needed to assign new roles for each presentation. • The group members were required to meet once a week before the presentation to discuss the text, their difficulties at the preparation stage, try to find solutions to them, to rehearse their roles and to give feedback to each other on their performance.
  • Training Program Prior to the Implementation of the Literature Circles • Prior to the implementation of the Literature Circles, the learners in the experimental group were provided with a one-week training program inserted into the regular syllabus. • In this program, the introduction unit in DBE Offline II was mainly used. In addition, the learners were given some information on how to make use of various graphic organisers (Venn Diagram, Story Plot Flow Map, Character Map, etc.)
  • Skills Introduced Prior to Literature Circles • Summarizing a paragraph or sections of a reading text • Writing good discussion questions • Completing graphic organizers (Venn Diagram, Story Plot Flow Map, etc.) • Choosing a paragraph from a reading text and compare and contrast the elements in the paragraph with one’s own culture • Choosing vocabulary words and making guesses about their meaning (based on context clues) • Looking up words in a dictionary and choosing the definition that fits the context clues
  • Group Presentations • Each group presentation lasted approximately 20 minutes. • During the presentations, some groups used overhead projectors and colorful papers while others prepared power point presentations. • During the group presentations, the teacher interference was at minumum. The audience asked the presenter for clarification whenever the need arose. • The teacher served as a facilitator, not a group member or instructor. They only interfered when the presenter could not produce a satisfactory response to the questions from the audience or when there was a misinterpretation or misunderstandings concerning any part of the presentation on the part of the learners. • After each presentation, each group administered an overall quiz to the class members to wrap up the points raised during the presentation and to check the other group members’ understanding.
  • Chaos Paragraph 5
  • One of the sim ilarities between our naturel w orld and our population is; the system w , hich neither can be understood nor can be seen. I t has independent structures w hich have been developed tim by tim I t m e e. akes us g on a o daily basis that have never m ade an error.I t controls us, make us clothed educated etc.
  • Vocabulary items of paragraph 5 • invisible(adj):that cannot be seen -She felt invisible in the crowd OPP:visible • superimpose(v):to put one image on top of another so that the two can be seen combined -A diagram of the new road layout was superimposed on a map of the city • operate(v):to work -solar panels can only operate in sunlight SYN:function • interdependent(adj):that depend on each other -The world is becoming increasingly interdependent • smooth(adj):even and regular without sudden stops and starts -The plane made a smooth landing
  • Those pictures shows us the tidiness in the untidiness ,which is very similiar to us from our daily life.
  • Chaos in traffic shows us the things ,which now you are looking at, aren’t always as the same as how they seem.
  • This system is about the performance and shows us how this system works.
  • Discussing Questions What is the purpose of “invisible structures”?
  • Their purpose is to provide a perfect running of a a large city on a daily system and to be sure that we are clothed,fed and educated.
  • What is the similarity -mentioned at this paragraph- between natural world and our society?
  • Both of them have an invisible order.
  • • According to us the Yanomano people should benefit from modern life’s advantage, but they hesitance from modern life’s crimes therefore they refuse
  • • The old yanomamo man with an axe
  • • Yanomamo woman teaches building a tent to little yanomamo kids
  • The Yanomamo ritual
  • The little Yanomamo kids.
  • No comment
  • Chagnon thinks that they are good people
  • • But they kill each other for no reason.
  • • Despite of being primitive, we think they know acapuncture.
  • Cast Drawing Slide Show : Kuntay Word wizard :Yetkin Summarizer : Birol Overall Quiz : Alp Discussion Questions : Serkan And directed by Emre
  • Individual and Group Reflection • After each presentation, other groups evaluated the group members’ performance by filling in a group performance reflection sheet. • Besides the group reflection sheet, each presesenter filled in an individual reflection sheet following the presentation. • The teacher also gave feedback on each group member by filling in an evaluation form.
  • The Impact of the Approach on the Level of EFL Reading Comprehension • In order to investigate the impact of the approach on the learners’ success in EFL reading comprehension, four pop quiz grades and two mid-term grades of the learners in the experimental group and those in the control group were collected and were subject to statistical analysis.
  • Data Analysis • The Quantitative Data in the Study: • In order to assess whether there is a significant difference between the control group and the experimental group related to their achievement levels, the independent sample t-test was used. • The quantitative data obtained from the four pop quizzes and two mid-terms were analysed through a one-way repeated within-subject analysis of variance. • The within-subject factors were determined as quizzes and mid-term exams taken by the students. This factor includes 4 quizzes and 2 mid-terms. Change among the exams was assessed using the multivariate criterion of Wilks’ lambda. Multivariate effect was used due to the violation of the Sphericity assumption and exam factor has 6 categories. Sphericity assumption was assessed by Mauchly’s test.
  • • The qualitative data from the survey on the literary circles and the interview questions were assessed together through inductive analysis.
  • Data Analysis Results • Analysis of the Quantitative Data • Results of the Pre-test analysis • The results of the independent sample t test indicated that there is no significant difference between the experimental and control groups related to their achivement levels.
  • • The results of the test indicated that there is no significant difference between groups with respect to their reading skills at the beginning of the study. • t (46) = -. 89 • p= . 337
  • Means and Standard Deviations of Each Group in the Pre-test • Experimental Group • Mean: 91. 72 • SD: 7.60 • N= 24 • Control Group • Mean: 89. 16 • SD: 11. 76 • N= 24
  • Analysis Results Related to the Impact of Learner Achievement • The results of the Mauchly’s test indicated a significant result change in the EFL learners’ level of reading comprehension. • Mauchly’s W = 0513 • X2(14) = 29. 47P= .003 • The main effect of exams was significant: • Wilks’ lambda (Λ) : . 20 • F(5, 42) = 33. 16 • P < .001 (Significance level set for the study is p= .05)
  • • In the light of the exam scores, the experimental group showed more progress than the control group. • The interaction effect of exams and groups were not found significant. • ^ = .89 • F (5, 42) = 1. 08 • p = .39 • There is no significant effect of the Literature Circles approach on EFL learners’ achievement in reading comprehension.
  • Mean and Standard Deviation of Each Group in the Exams Table 1. Means and Standard Deviations of Each Group in the Exams Experiment Group Control Group Exams X SD X SD Quiz 106 71,33 13,01 68,90 11,47 Mid-Term 1 74,48 16,76 67,96 9,91 Quiz 108 70,56 7,36 64,60 13,31 Quiz 111 74,16 8,69 65,38 13,73 Mid-Term 2 78,58 8,43 71,24 9,65 Quiz 116 84,85 6,12 82,70 7,89 Note. N = 24
  • Figure 1 . Progress of Each Group in All Exams Progress of each group in all exams 85,00 Section Control Group Experiment Group 80,00 75,00 Scores 70,00 65,00 60,00 Quiz106 Mid-Term 1 Quiz108 Quiz111 Mid-Term 2 Quiz116 Exams
  • Results of the Analysis of the Questionnaire Data How useful did you find literature circles in improving reading skills in English while doing Literacy Circles readings? Frequenc y Percent Not enjoyable 5 20,8 Somewhat enjoyable 12 50,0 Enjoyable 4 16,7 Total 21 87,5 Note. N = 24 Half of the students stated that Literature Circles are somewhat useful.
  • How enjoyable did you find teacher-oriented classes while doing reading passages in DBE-Offline readings? Frequenc y Percent Not enjoyable 4 16,7 Somewhat enjoyable 12 50,0 Enjoyable 5 20, 8 Total 21 87,5 Note. N = 24 Half of the students stated that teacher-oriented method is somewhat enjoyable
  • How enjoyable did you find literature circles while doing reading passages in DBE-Offline readings? Frequenc y Percent Not enjoyable 2 8,3 Somewhat enjoyable 11 45,8 Enjoyable 8 33,3 Very Enjoyable 1 4,2 Total 22 91,7 Note. N = 24 More than 75 % of the students stated that literature circles are somewhat enjoyable or enjoyable.
  • How much outside preparation did you have to do for “teacher-oriented” classes? Frequenc y Percent Not at all 12 50,0 Less than 1 hour 5 20,8 From 1 to 3 4 16,7 From 3 to 5 1 4,2 Total 22 91,7 Note. N = 24 Half of the students stated that they do not make any preparation for teacher-oriented classes.
  • How much outside preparation did you have to do for “literature circles”? Frequenc y Percent Not at all 1 4,2 Less than 1 hour 12 50,0 From 1 to 3 9 37,5 Total 22 91,7 Note. N = 24 More than 85 % of the students stated that they make preparation.
  • How effective did you find teacher’s comments and explanations in class for your learning in teacher-oriented classes? Frequency Percent Somewhat effective 6 25,0 Effective 12 50,0 Very effective 4 16,7 Total 22 91,7 Note. N = 24 More than half of the students think that teacher’s comment and explanations are effective.
  • How effective did you find teacher’s comments and explanations during literature circles for your learning in teacher-oriented classes? Frequency Percent Not effective 2 8,3 Somewhat effective 5 20,8 Effective 10 41,7 Very effective 5 20,8 Total 22 91,7 Note. N = 24 More than half of the students thought that teacher’s comments and explanations are effective during literature circles. Yet, there are 2 students who don’t think highly of the teachers’ comments.
  • How helpful were your group members during preparation of the group presentation? Frequency Percent Somewhat helpful 8 33,3 Generally helpful 7 29,2 Very helpful 7 29,2 Total 22 91,7 Note. N = 24 It is interesting that the rates of each choice are equal. It means that students did not reach a consensus regarding this item.
  • How would you evaluate your participation (listening, following, asking, questions, answering questions) in teacher-oriented lessons while doing DBE-Offline readings? Frequency Percent Very low 2 8,3 Low 9 37,5 Somewhat high 5 20,8 High 6 25,0 Total 22 91,7 Note. N = 24 Less than half of the students stated that their participation is somewhat high or high.
  • How would you evaluate your participation (listening, following, asking, questions, answering questions) in literature circles? Frequency Percent Low 1 4,2 Somewhat high 6 25,0 High 13 54,2 Very high 2 8,3 Total 22 91,7 Note. N = 24 More that half of the students stated that their participation is high and very high. In other words, in literature circles, students’ participation is more than teacher-oriented lessons in the light of their thoughts.
  • Did you have any difficulty related to teacher-oriented lessons while doing DBE-Offline readings? Frequenc y Percent Yes 5 20,8 No 16 66,7 Total 21 87,5 Note. N = 24 More than half of the students state that they did not have any difficulty related to teacher oriented lessons.
  • Did you have any difficulty related to literacy circles lessons while doing DBE-Offline readings? Frequency Percent Yes 7 29,2 No 15 62,5 Total 22 91,7 Note. N = 24 More than half of the students stated that they do not have any difficulty related to literature circles. However, the number of “No’s” is lower than that in teacher-oriented classes.
  • How interested do you think your classmates were in the presentations? Frequency Percent Not interested 4 16,7 Interested 16 66,7 Very interested 2 8,3 Total 22 91,7 Note. N = 24 About two-third of the students state that their classmates were interested in the presentations.
  • Results of the Inductive Analysis of the Qualitative Data • Data obtained from the open-ended questionnaire items and the interviews • The DBE learners in the experimental group held favourable views on the effectiveness of the Literature Circles in general. However, the learners’ views indicated that some aspects need to be modified to enhance the level of effectiveness.
  • Results of the Inductive Analysis of the Qualitative Data • First-level Codes: 27 • Second-level Codes: 75
  • Table 2. First- and Second-level Codes for Item 4 Main Category First-level codes Second-level codes Usefulness of Teacher-oriented A. Effective way of teaching i) Relatively long retention of Classes vocabulary in class words ii) Deep processing of words B. Effective way of focusing i) Relatively good concentration students’ attention on the main on classes in general points and key points ii) Effective structuring of the material presented iii) Effective and sound learning of the material iv) Easy internalization of knowledge v) Fast pace vi) Effective time management C. Effective treatment of i) Skill integration reading, speaking and listening skills ii) Provision of speaking opportunities iii) Effective learning
  • Table 2. First- and Second-level Codes for Item 6 Main Category First-level Codes Second-level Codes Usefulness of Literature Circles A. Being prepared for classes in i) No spoonfeeding by the teacher advance ii) High level of enjoyment iii) A sense of purpose and direction iv) High level of active student involvement in the task v) A better command of the topic as compared to teacher-oriented lessons vi) A high level of task understanding vii) A high level of retention viii) Effective learning of the material ix) Better focus on the material studied x) Longer attention span xi) Effective treatment of material in class particularly through the vocabulary and summary preparation component
  • xi) Effective treatment of material in class particularly through the vocabulary and summary preparation component B. Fostering communication and i) Strong bonds between group cooperation among students members ii) Solidarity in class iii) Sharing one’s work with others C. Fostering self-directed learning i) A developed sense of responsibility ii) Arrangement of study pace D. Contribution to the learning of i) Improvement of presentation English skills ii) Preparing the students for the departmental studies iii) Improvement of reading skills E. Contribution to personal i) Increased level of self- development confidence ii) Learning effective teamwork F. Fast pace of class i) Prevention of boredom during class ii) Effective focus on class
  • Table 4. First- and Second-level Codes for Item 9 Main Category First-level Codes Second-level Codes Enjoyable features of A. Provision of variety i) A variety of ideas and Literature Circles interpretations ii) A variety in the way the presentations were done (e.g., use of multi-media facilities and OHT) iii) A variety of presenters iv) A variety of roles B. Provision of learning i) Working in groups opportunities ii) Lots of opportunities for practice iii) Doing overall quizzes and vocabulary quizzes iv) Drawing pictures iv) Classroom discussions vi) Learning from others
  • vii) Reflection on what is prepared C. Active student involvement in class i) Fast pace of classes ii) Smooth flow of ideas
  • Table 5. First- and Second-level Codes for Item 10 Main Category First-level codes Second-level codes Relatively unfavourable A. Exclusive focus on the i) Not enough interest in the aspects of the Literature assigned paragraph other paragraphs Circles Method ii) No proper preparation for the other paragraphs iii) Not enough importance attached to the other groups’ presentations iv) Difficulty concentrating on other groups’ presentations v) Unnecessarily detailed analysis of the paragraphs B. Problems due to the i) Student failure to arangement of text understand the main points difficulty level in the paragraph ii) Some passages being more difficult to handle than others
  • Item 15 (Role divisions) 90 % : Assignment of different roles 10% : Assignment of the same role Table 6. First- and Second-level Codes for Item 17 Main Category First-level codes Second-level codes The useful aspects of roles A. Impetus for self-directed i) Doing research through for learning in the long-run learning the internet and other sources ii) Provision of challenge on the part of the students iii) Improvement of the paraphrasing skill iv) Improvement of the presentation skills v) Freedom of expression and choice
  • vi) Improvement of self confidence i) Improvement of reading skills in general B. Group learning opportunities i) Improvement of speaking opportunities in groups ii) Enhancing teamwork iii) Strengthening the bond between group members
  • Table 7 . First- and Second-level Codes for Item 21 Main category First-level codes Second-level codes Difficulties with the teacher- A. Difficulties related to the i) Being in a listener oriented classes while doing delivery position for a long time DBE Offline readings ii) The pace of classes being too fast to follow iii) Loss of concentration B. Difficulties related to the i) Boring nature of the texts textbook ii) The level of text difficulty being too high
  • Table 8. First- and Second-level Codes for Item 22 Main category First-level codes Second-level codes Difficulties with the literary A. Fast pace of presentations i) Not having enough time to circles digest the information presented ii) Superficial understading of the information presented iii) Being unable to focus on the information presented properly iv) Difficulties related to the time management during the presentations B. High level of text i) Problems with difficulty understanding the text ii) Difficulties preparing for the role
  • Table 9. First- and Second-level Codes for Item 24 Main category First-level codes Second-level codes Level of benefit from the A. A high level of text i) High level of vocabulary presentations) understanding retention ii) High level of understanding of the main points and details B. Personal Development i) Increase in self confidence ii) Increase in the repertoire of knowledge iii) A chance to prepare things our own style iv) A stimulus to foster creativity
  • Table 10. First- and Second-level Codes for Item 25 Main category First-level codes Second-level codes Suggestions for improvement A. Topic choice i) Decrease in the number of technical topics and increase in the number of topics of general interest i) Choice of topics that are not cognitively demanding iii) Choice of more enjoyable topics B. Reinforcement of the things i) The teacher wrap-up learned ii) Teacher administering a quiz on the theme following the presentations iii) Whole class discussion on the topic presented C. Dealing with the whole text i) Unity within the text rather than paragraphs ii) Avoidance of unnecessary details D. More incentive for self-directed i) Inculcating a sense of student learning responsibility ii) Raising the students level of awareness concerning the relevance and importance of autonomous learning E. Requirements on the part of the i) Giving grades learners to take this method seriously
  • ii) Adding a bit of teacher control in the group work (e.g., in the way the roles are divided and the work is shared equally / to avoid free riding
  • Implications from the Study • The method Literature Circles did not guarantee success but paved the way for learners’ development of autonomy. • In order to implement self-directed learning more effectively, a number of areas need to be further addressed. • Learner training: Some students are not ready as others for independent language learning. Literature Circles turned out to be more popular among those learners who were already self- sufficient and demonstrated some degree of autonomy in learning. • This does not mean that the less ready or less enthusiastic students are not capable of autonomy. • Nunan (1996; 13) rightly points out • “Some degree of autonomy can be fostered in learners regardless of the extent to which they are predisposed to the notion”.
  • • This method was offered as ancilliary to the main language course. • In order to help students become autonomous, it would be more effective to provide learner training alongside the program, and make it an integral part of the course. • Learner training activities can be incorporated systematically in the classroom to help students to become more aware of the learning process, more ready to take charge of their own learning, and empowered to make their own changes. • The study showed that some learners in the study needed help in this respect. They wanted the teacher to put some requirements on them so that they could raise their awareness level about the issue. • Through such activities learners come to terms with their strengths and weaknesses and to learn a language efficiently in ways which are compatible with their personalities (Gremmo and Riley, 1995) . • The presenters were asked to fill in the individual performance reflection sheets, but some learners started to neglect it after a while. Not being used to doing self- reflection, they regarded filling in those sheets as a burden.
  • Teacher counselling • Promoting learner autonomy does not mean a reduction of teacher intervention or initiative (Lee, 1998). • In this program, teacher counselling was not systematically integrated, but some students reported that the teacher should play a helping and supporting role. Although the teacher gave the students feedback through the evaluation forms, some students apparently did not see them as beneficial. • Most learners reported that the teacher should do a wrap-up after all the presentations to make the points made in the presentations clear. • Teacher counselling should be treated as a significant component of this autonomy- inducing method • The role of teacher counselling in fostering learner autonomy should be more widely used and explored in this method.
  • Collaborative Learning • Learner autonomy has increasingly been associated with social and collaborative learning (Benson, 1996). • The students in this program studied on their own mostly, though they held exchange sessions and they shared their progress with each other.
  • • Having learners share successful strategies with their peers is an important part of learner training (Tyacke, 1991). • The exchange sessions in the program seemed to have only a limited impact on the learners. • The future programs should aim at fostering social or collaborative learning through a more concerted effort, making more active use of peer negotiations, peer review or peer teaching. • The teacher should try to do her best to establish good group dynamics in class.
  • Conclusion • The aim of autonomous learning is to promote independence in learners so that they can continue their language development and take increasing responsibility for their learning. • Creating a self-directed learning program does not in itself enable learners to become self-directed.
  • • Learner autonomy is promoted through • The provision of circumstances and contexts for language learners which will make it more more likely that they take charge – at least temporarily – of the whole or part of their language learning program, and which are more likely to help rather than prevent learners from exercising their autonomy (Esch 1996: 37).
  • • The results of this study support the views of Esch. It would seem that teachers offering programs in self- directed learning need to think very carefully about how the necessary supportive circumstances and contexts can be provided to help learners develop the necessary capacity and willingness to take on more responsibility for their own learning.
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