LEARNER AUTONOMY IN A NUTSHELL Cem BALÇIKANLI Gazi University, Faculty of Education, English Language Teaching Department E-mail: [email_address] The 11 th International INGED ELT Conference 6-8 September 2007 Ankara, TURKEY
'Autonomy is the ability to take charge of one's own learning' (Holec, 1979).
'Autonomy is a capacity – for detachment, critical reflection, decision-making, and independent action (Little, 1990).
'Autonomy is a situation in which the learner is totally responsible for all the decisions concerned with his/her learning and the implementation of those decisions' (Dickinson,1993).
' A utonomy is characterized by a readiness to take charge of one’s own learning in the service of one’s needs and purposes. (Dam 1995:1)
what is learner autonomy?
Benson and Voller (1997) point out five ways the term autonomy is used for.
situations in which learners study entirely on their own;
a set of skills which can be learned and applied in self-directed learning;
an inborn capacity which is suppressed by institutional education;
the exercise of learners’ responsibility for their own learning;
for the right of learners to determine the direction of their own learning
If democratic states are to develop and flourish as democracies, t hey must undertake ed ucational measures calculated to develop t he c apacity of their citizens to think and act as free and self - determining individuals (Holec,1981) .
I n the field of second/foreign language education there has been a shift in focus from the teacher to the learner, from exclusive focus on how to improve teaching to an inclusive concern for how individual learners go through their learning
(Gremmo, 1995) .
From the idea of man ‘‘product of his society’’, one moves to the idea of man ‘‘producer of his society’’ (Janne, 1977: 15; cit. Holec, 1981:3).
* set his/her learning goals, identify and develop learning strategies to achieve such goals
* develop study plans
* reflect on his/her learning which includes identifying problem areas and means of addressing these problems
* identify and selects relevant resources and the necessary support
* assess his/her own progress and define his/her own criteria for evaluating performance and learning (including strategies, materials, etc)
Chan (2001 )
what dispositions does an autonomous learner display?
A dults do not know how to diagnose their own needs for l earning , formulate their own learning objectives , identify learning resources and planning strategies for taking the initiative in using those resources , assess their own learning and have their assessments validated. Knowles (1981),
Have the students design lessons or materials to be used in class.
Instruct students on how to use the school's resource centers: the school library, the language lab, and the language lounge.
Emphasize the importance of peer-editing, corrections, and follow-up questioning in the classroom.
Encourage the students to use only English in class. Part of the role of the language teacher is to create an environment where students feel they should communicate in the target language and feel comfortable doing so.
Stress fluency rather than accuracy.
A llow the students to use reference books, including dictionaries in class.
what is the importance of learner autonomy in terms of European Language Portfolio (ELP)?
to promote self-directed learning and socially responsible language learning
to develop reflective learning and self-assessment, emphasizing learning to learn in foreign language education
to develop negotiated learning strategies and learner commitment
to emphasize the central role of self-assessment, and self-assessment instruments provided
to promote lifelong-learning for the citizens
to improve the learner strategies which help the learners acquire the language