The why and how of independent learning

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Independence and autonomy, What do you think about it?
Interesting What we can do in class as teachers?
and the students too What they can do?

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The why and how of independent learning

  1. 1. The Why and How of Independent Learning
  2. 2. Outcomes • • • • The concept of autonomy What does autonomy involve? Profile of autonomous learners Connection between autonomy the language classroom: – Challenges and teaching opportunities
  3. 3. Warm up that begin with Work in groups of three or four. Find words 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. ten: Inclination Tendency Delicate, gentle or sore A racket game Between baritone and alto Stretched tight A place to live Camping equipment Person who rents a house or an apartment
  4. 4. Warm Find words that begin with up Work in groups of three or four. ten: 1. Inclination Tendency 2. Delicate, gentle or sore: Tender 3. A racket game: Tennis 4. Between baritone and alto: Tenor 5. Stretched tight: Tense 6. A place to live: Tenement 7. Camping equipment: Tent 8. Person who rents a house or an apartment: Tenant
  5. 5. What is autonomy? • Work with a partner and come up with your own definition
  6. 6. What is autonomy? • A generic definition: The competence to develop as a self-determined, socially responsible and critically aware participant in (and beyond) educational environments, within a vision of education as (inter)personal empowerment and social transformation. in Language Education in Europe: Towards a (Pedagogy for Autonomy Framework for Learner and Teacher Development (2007. Dublin : Authentik. Manuel Jinénez Raya, Terry Lamb, and Flávia Vieira)
  7. 7. What is autonomy? • The ability to take charge of one’s own learning (Holec, cited in Griffiths, 2008) • The central issue is “decision-making in the learning process”. – This implies a change in role of the learner and teacher (more on this later)
  8. 8. Autonomous learning is NOT: • • • • learning without a teacher or in isolation another teaching method just a set of skills, rules or strategies let students do what they like when they want to if they want to
  9. 9. What does autonomy involve? Motivation, Self-esteem, Selfregulation, Independent action, Counseling, Learning Styles, Learning Strategies, Learner Training, Teacher Training, Self- and Peer-assessment, Critical reflection, Learner Diaries, Learner Contracts, Culture, Technology, Selfaccess, Decision-making, Affect, Multiple Intelligences, Differentiation, Selfinstruction, Learning Pathways, Perceptions and Beliefs, Goalsetting, Portfolios, Detachment…
  10. 10. What does autonomy involve? • • • • • A capacity for ‘detachment’ Critical reflection Decision-making Independent action Learning styles and learning strategies
  11. 11. “It’s too hot to struggle for autonomy!” New Yorker Cartoon by William Haefeli
  12. 12. Autonomous learning: … maximizes learning opportunities. … encourages learners to incorporate ‘new’ forms in their language. … promotes genuine learning. AND … Without autonomous learning no one could possibly learn a language. The systems are too complex and too numerous for conscious learning. Adapted from: www.willis-elt.co.uk
  13. 13. What makes an autonomous learner? • An autonomous learner: – goes beyond what the teacher presents in class. – likes to find ways to stay in contact with the target language outside the classroom. – does things beyond what the teacher asks or requests.
  14. 14. What makes an autonomous learner? • An autonomous learner: – does things beyond what the teacher asks or requests. For instance, may do extra grammar exercises either in print or on line. – goes beyond what the teacher presents in class. For example, looks up a new word in a dictionary even if the teacher didn’t “teach” it during the lesson. – likes to find ways to stay in contact with the target language outside the classroom. For example, may regularly keep up with English language sites of interest on the internet.
  15. 15. Becoming autonomous • Is a process of self-discovery • Needs some guidance • Implies making choices
  16. 16. Teacher and learner roles in autonomous learning • • • • • Teacher Process Facilitator Feedback provider Supplier of tasks Decision maker Creator of opportunities • • • • Learner Decision maker Strategy user Manager of their autonomy Collaborator
  17. 17. Open curriculum Centralization of decision making Autonomy in language teaching: A cline
  18. 18. Autonomy and language teaching Focus on: – Learner involvement – Awareness of what’s relevant in their conditions and lived experience – Choice and responsibility – Social aspect of language learning
  19. 19. – Learner involvement – Awareness of what’s relevant in their conditions and lived experience – Choice and responsibility – Social aspect of language learning
  20. 20. Learner involvement • Learner training – Self-discipline – Self-assessment – Critical reflection upon learning progress
  21. 21. Tips for self-discipline • • • • Set a time to study/do homework Learn at least one new word per day “Collect” words from the real world Use your own word to explain a grammar rule – Try explaining it to yourself – Try explaining it to others
  22. 22. Adapted from McCarthy, McCarten and Sandiford Touchstone 2 Cambridge University Press
  23. 23. Adapted from McCarthy, McCarten and Sandiford Touchstone 2 Cambridge University Press
  24. 24. Learner involvement • Learner training – Self-discipline – Self-assessment – Critical reflection upon learning progress
  25. 25. Learner involvement: practical example Woodward, T. 2009
  26. 26. Baby Girl Cute Teddy bear Woodward, T. 2009
  27. 27. Your turn dark Woodward, T. 2009
  28. 28. – Learner involvement – Awareness of what’s relevant in their conditions and lived experience – Choice and responsibility – Social aspect of language learning
  29. 29. Awareness of what’s relevant in their conditions and lived experience • Needs analysis • Difference between using English vs just remembering English
  30. 30. Taken from Connect Second Ed by Richards, Barbisan and Sandy
  31. 31. – Learner involvement – Awareness of what’s relevant in their conditions and lived experience – Choice and responsibility – Social aspect of language learning
  32. 32. • Lesson plan vs learning plan Lessons become less predictable Students’ expectations Choosing a path
  33. 33. – Learner involvement – Awareness of what’s relevant in their conditions and lived experience – Choice and responsibility – Social aspect of language learning
  34. 34. Social aspect of language learning
  35. 35. I just bought a new TV. about the tornado? Did I tell you about… the good news about John? I won a talent contest. my accident? Did I tell you... And guess what? Do you know what happened And you know what? Have you heard … to the woman next door? Adapted from: McCarthy, McCarten and Sandiford Touchstone, Cambridge University Press
  36. 36. Social aspect of language learning: technology • Use of technology to foster autonomous learning
  37. 37. Do you recognize them? Twitter Delicious Skype MySpace Google MSN Flickr Facebook
  38. 38. Video maker example
  39. 39. http://www.dfilm.com/live/moviemaker.html
  40. 40. “I’m going away for the weekend. Would you mind feeding my husband?”
  41. 41. How do I start helping my students become independent? • Get informed, read, discuss (AUTO-L online discussion list) • Give students choices, small at first • Discuss with students what they value as students as well as what is valued from students • Remember that autonomy = freedom • Needs analysis
  42. 42. Needs analysis • Tasks • Teachers • Other students
  43. 43. Example types of activities for autonomous learning  Cooperative  Inductive  Discovery  Problem-based  Role-plays
  44. 44. Cooperative Taken from Richards, J. Interchange Third Edition Teacher’s Resource book
  45. 45. Inductive
  46. 46. Discovery Exercise where students receive input in the form of a text or conversation to notice, and then figure out, how an expression, word or structure is used.
  47. 47. Problem-based
  48. 48. Problem-based
  49. 49. Role plays Types: - Students “act as if” they were someone else - Students “act as if” they were a well-known person - Students act as themselves in a given situation
  50. 50. “I know, let’s try role reversal. I’ll go on and on and on about my miserable life and we’ll see how you like it.”
  51. 51. Help learners identify their own preferred styles and strategies
  52. 52. Taken from Connect Second Ed by Richards, Barbisan and Sandy
  53. 53. Conclusions: In effect, successful or expert or intelligent learners have learned acquired knowledge about learning and the attitudes that enable them to use this knowledge confidently, flexibly, appropriately and independently of a teacher. Therefore, they are autonomous. Wendend 1991
  54. 54. References • Griffiths, C. – ed – (2008) Lessons from Good Language Learners Cambridge University Press • Wenden, A. (1991) Learner Strategies for Learner Autonomy. London: Prentice Hall International. • White, C. (2003) Language Learning in Distance Education Cambridge University Press • Woodward, T. (2009) I think, therefore I learn 5 ETProfessional, 62:18-19 May

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