Fostering Autonomy

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Fostering Autonomy. Matt Duncan Wright State University Dayton, Ohio. Tips & Techniques for Encouraging Independent Language Learning. What is AUTONOMY?. Students learn from teachers, but school ends some day Language learning isn’t like other subjects – it’s ongoing - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Transcript of Fostering Autonomy

Fostering Autonomy

Fostering AutonomyTips & Techniques for Encouraging Independent Language LearningMatt DuncanWright StateUniversityDayton, OhioWhat is AUTONOMY?Students learn from teachers, but school ends some day Language learning isnt like other subjects its ongoing

Self motivation & self selection of study materials

Self evaluation & assessment

Learning through applications by doing projectsBig Differences:Traditional ClassroomsTeacher-centeredEveryone does the same thing at the same timeLecturesScheduled testsHomework matches

Autonomous ClassroomsStudent-centeredStudents work independently on different projectsGroup workIndividual AssessmentSelf-selected homework

Steps toward an Autonomous ClassInventories: surveys of student strategies & motivations MOTIVATION

Journals: student work & reflection; teacher assessment and reflection REFLECTION

The Kit: a new way to assign homework INDEPENDENCE & CHOICESILL and MSLQ InventoriesStrategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL)

Answer in terms of how well the statement describes you. Do not answer how you think you should be, or what other people do. There are no right or wrong answers to these statements.

Most widely-used survey to assess student learning strategies. Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ)Please rate the following items based on your behavior in this class. Your rating should be on a 7-point scale where 1 = not at all true of me to 7 = very true of me

Contains both a basic motivation subscale as well as a motivation/language learning strategies subscale inventory questionsI use new SL words in a sentence so I can remember them.

I say or write new SL words several times.

I try not to translate word for word.

?Sample SILL questions, ranked 1 (Never true) to 5 (Always true)Sample inventory questionsI make summaries of information that I hear or read in the SL.

I try to guess what the other person will say next in the SL.

I plan my schedule so I will have enough time to study SL.

?Sample SILL questions, ranked 1 (Never true) to 5 (Always true)Sample inventory questionsI prefer class work that is challenging so I can learn new things.

It is important for me to learn what is being taught in this class

Compared with others in this class, I think Im a good student

?Sample MSLQ questions, ranked 1 (not at all true) to 7 (very true)Scoring the SILL & MSLQFor information about how to find averages and chart results on the SILL:

Both sets of questions & discussion: (Appendix A p. 12)Questions can be viewed individually OR scores can be tabulated and graphed.

What Teachers Learn from InventoriesPre-testing shows students motivation level and sets a baseline

Pre-testing lets you know students strategies and skills

Results usually mirror classroom habitsWhat Teachers Learn from InventoriesPost-testing shows possible advancement or change over time

Pre- and post-testing encourage reflectivity, a key skill for autonomyWhat Students Learn from InventoriesQuestions suggest new or untried strategies

Students see expectations for their time investment

Students develop habit of self-assessmentStudent JournalsA place to do homework and write vocabulary

A place to make plans for future lessons and projects.

Student JournalsMore importantly: a place to reflect on strategies and challenges when learning.

A place to communicate with the teacher

Teaching JournalTake SILL and MSLQ inventories answer in journal

Teaching/Lesson plans BRAINSTORM!

Review/Reflection what worked, what didnt?

Student assessment descriptions, not just gradesApproach Assessment Narratively and ReflectivelyIts not just grades its a plan.

Example of an Assessment EntryStudents NameDATEAssignment (brief) DescriptionNumber or Letter Grade

Bullet point list or descriptive paragraph detailing strengths and weaknesses.

Suggested strategies and ideas for intervention with the student.

Annotations with follow-up

Example of an Assessment EntryGuo Shangrong6/1/2014Diagnostic Reading Questions75%

- seems well-prepared to read basic texts in newspapers/manuals- problems with cultural context and idioms- seems to confuse prepositions (with/for, in/at)- missed definitions in context- found dates and stats quickly and easily seems to be good at skim/scan

- encourage cultural research about English-speaking countries (TV, movies, stories)6/10 high score on B1 below good progresspreposition practice 6/15 low score on test supports need for further studycontextual definition practiceMaking an Autonomy KitBuild a stack or box of cards or folders filled with lessons/projects

Adapt the Kit to your comfort level with autonomy

Use colors to differentiate levels

How to Build a Card for Your Autonomy KitColorcoded - Name or DescriptionLevel A, B, C, 1,2, 31) Contextualize the assignment. Give the basic overview of whats expected for several steps in the assignment.

Immediately root the assignment in WRITING in the journal. Either have the students find vocabulary meanings, or ask them to answer questions, or have them start brainstorming. This is an INDIVIDUAL task that they will probably do alone, and could work at home or in class.

2) Connect the material to some other activity. This could involve reviewing material the student already knows or it could involve finding a partner to work with. This might be a conversation partner or a co-performer in a dialogue in front of the class. This is the time for performance assessment this can take the place of TESTING.

3) Ask the student questions or give them exercises based on the words and activities above. Students should respond in their journals. Include REFLECTION questions. A New Approach to AssignmentsEach card is a set of tasks for the student to work on at his or her own pace

You need MOST or ALL assignments READY at the start of the term/unit

Have 2-3 copies of each card

Hack the textbook copy and use assignments from EVERYWHERE

Low Tech Options

Organization Can Vary


A Simple Start: VocabularyTraditional Vocabulary Study

From a textbook

Presented in order

Presented in units or chapters

(sometimes) connected to a lesson or topicA Simple Start: VocabularyAutonomous Vocabulary Study

From a textbook OR found online, in other readings, in daily life, etc.

Students choose order and variety

(Sometimes) connected to students independent projectsLetting Students ChooseLow Autonomy

Textbook list in chaptersStudents as a group choose the order of the chapters for the semester or term

Textbook list in chapters in orderStudents choose 5 out of 10 (or some other smaller portion) from the listLetting Students ChooseModerate Autonomy

Textbook list for the semester or termStudents as a group choose 10 (20, etc.) words from the textbook list each week

Textbook list for one month at a timeSame, but from a smaller list over a shorter timeLetting the Student ChooseModerate Autonomy

Textbook list for the semester or termStudents each choose 10 (20, etc.) words from the textbook list each week

Textbook list for one month at a timeSame, but from a smaller list over a shorter timeLetting the Student ChooseAdvanced Autonomy

Found vocabularyStudents turn in a list of vocabulary they have found or encountered each week

Found in a ProjectStudents are focused on a group project and begin the project by searching for related vocabularyVocabulary TestsIndividual Written TestsNOT RECOMMENDED

Practical Use/Application in a Written ProjectGreat! Its applied!Easy to grade written

Vocabulary TestsIndividual Verbal TestsTime consumingBenefit: SPEAKING

Practical Use/Application in an Oral PresentationApplied! Speaking!Not as easy to grade but much better results

BenefitsFor TeachersCheating = difficult

Allows different learners to work at their own pace

Cuts down on monotony less boring

BenefitsFor StudentsEmpowermentMotivationInterestPaceThorough coverage of difficult wordsStudents learn HOW TO LEARN and how to teach themselves

How the Internet Can HelpFind lessons and exercises online

Send the students to URLs to foster independence

Use videos and online radio (VOA, NPR, BBC)Clip art

Use a wiki instead of a box of cards

Have students use blogs instead of paper journals

Create interactive websitesNew Skills for TeachersPreparation

No lecturing roaming

Testing/assessment changes

Technology skills

Teaching JOURNAL

Images: http://www.empireonline.comNew Expectations for StudentsDesire to know what is right or bestDesire for structureResistance to responsibilityResistance to riskDesire for more attention high-performing students

ExtremesUniversity of Richmond

Self-directed Language Study ProgramAllows students to get credit for languages not taught at U of RichmondStudents learn autonomous strategiesStudents compare and share resources via NingStudents contribute to learning strategies via Wiki

Image: http://mini-mba.weebly.comTaking Autonomy FurtherEncourage students to keep adding to their vocabulary from outside sources

Encourage students to think like a teacher and test themsel