Successful Learner Autonomy and Learner Independence in Self-Directed Learning

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This is the last lecture in Phase II (Dec 2006 - June 2007) of the video-conferencing teacher education and teacher training project in ELT from UK to Al-Quds Open University in Palestinian Territories. The project is sponsored by the British Council, and Mark Krzanowski is the Project Manager in London. This session has been prepared for Palestinian trainer trainers and experienced Palestinian teacher educators.

Transcript of Successful Learner Autonomy and Learner Independence in Self-Directed Learning

  • 1. Successful Learner Autonomy&Learner IndependenceinSelf-Directed Learning : Tuesday 29th May 2007
    • Mark Krzanowski
  • EAP Adviser: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, University of London
  • Freelance ELT Consultant & MKUKED Director
  • [email_address]

University of London London School ofHygiene & Tropical Medicine 2. Organisation of the Lecture

  • Introduction
  • Interactive Discussion of Questions from Pre-Lecture Task
  • Break
  • Questions from Trainer Trainers
  • Review of specialist literature on the topic
  • Conclusions
  • Official closure of Phase II of the Project

3. 1 .Provide your own definition of learner independence for an EFL learner.

  • Learner independence is a students ability, innate or acquired, to function autonomously or semi-autonomously in an ELT classroom while taking judicious control and responsibility for their own language progress and development. Each and every learner is different, and levels of learner autonomy vary dramaticallyfrom one student to another. There may be a national or cultural dimension to the concept as well. Learner over-independence may be potentially dangerous and may at times alienate the learner from the group learning and teaching process (Mark Krzanowski)

Learner autonomy may at times result in cases where an adult learner relies on self-study as a predominant mode of acquiring education. LA can be considered in relation to learning a language or in general [e.g. attitude to study] (MK). 4. ELT specialists on learner independence

  • 'Autonomy is the ability to take charge of one's own learning' (Henri Holec)
  • 'Autonomy is essentially a matter of the learner's psychological relation to the process and content of learning' (David Little)
  • 'Autonomy is a situation in which the learner is totally responsible for all the decisions concerned with his [or her] learning and the implementation of those decisions'. (Leslie Dickinson)
  • 'Autonomy is a recognition of the rights of learners within educational systems'. (Phil Benson)

5. 2. At what stage of ones educational development does learner autonomy become especially important? 3. Give at least 5 characteristics of a good autonomous language learner.

  • 2.Tertiary education / university education
  • up to age of 18 (end of high school or secondary school):
  • teaching syllabi offered as a finely-tuned input
  • University sector onwards/upwards:
  • Roughly-tuned input a norm;
  • - learners expected to actively engage in aggressive reading
  • - self-directed learning considered then a key to success; seen as a competitive / differential advantage or USP (e.g. able to work on ones own initiative)
  • 3. A good and efficient autonomous language learner:
  • Is able to take initiative and assume responsibility for his learning
  • Possesses a range of transferable skills acquired from the tutor or other students, and is able to make a positive transfer
  • Sees independence as a challenge and an enriching educational experience
  • Employs a range of effective strategies to constantly improve his/her English
  • Is not afraid to experiment on his/her own, often through trial and error, in a quest for language improvement

6. 4. Does the Palestinian educational system advocate learner autonomy is it part of Palestinian (academic) culture?

  • Contributions from 4 Campuses of Al-Quds
  • British secondary education: pupils need to be prepared to function in a post-secondary world/context
  • English-speaking academy:
  • Study skills and pastoral care are often frontloaded
  • Overseas or non-EU EAP/ESP/EFL students: often shocked or traumatised
  • Students from affluent countries, middle-class families or from the private education sector: not always prepared to readily accept the concept from day one

7. 5. Give practical examples of how you would exploit the CD recordings of Active Learner for promotion of learner autonomy in English for Academic Purposes classes . 8. Specimen worksheet for Active Learner - Programme 6

  • In amoment you will listen to Part 4 of the BBC World Service Programme Active learner. Programme 4 is devoted to Academic Writing.
  • As you listen, try to take notes or answer the following questions:
  • How many people take part in the programme?
  • What is the narrator (the female programme producer) saying about academic English and academic writing?
  • What is the name of the female student who is interviewed?
  • What is she saying about academic writing in English? What kind of advice is she giving to international students?
  • How did the student cope with the academic exercise given to her?
  • Was her tutor pleased with her performance?
  • What is the academic tutor saying about academic writing?
  • Which interesting things did you learn in this particular programme?
  • Did you learn any interesting vocabulary, phrases or expressions?
  • Will this programme give you some practical ideas that will improve your own academic writing?

9. 6. Give examples of what paper, audio- and audio-visual resources can be of help for self-study and how they can be exploited.

  • Newspapers: hard copy editions and online editions
  • General and specialist dictionaries (e.g. dictionaries of collocations)
  • Journals and periodicals (e.g. New Scientist for EAP students)
  • TV (documentaries, e.g. BBC Horizon)
  • Radio (e.g. BBC Radio 4 educational programmes; cf Analysis)
  • Language websites (e.g. the British Council sponsored ones like Learning English or Teaching English)
  • If a teacher raises learners awareness that the above sources can also be accessed and utilised independently for further self-study, many students will do so. Learner training and demo-ing are crucial.
  • http://www.guardian.co.uk/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizon_(TV_series) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/programmes/analysis/default.stm www.uefap.co.uk 10. 7.Give examples of different modern Learning Technologies (LTs) and comment on whether they are a blessing or a curse for educators wishing to promote learner independence. Provide some specific instances of the advantages of LTs for self-directed learning. Learning technology is the broad range of communication, information and related technologies that can be used to support learning, teaching, and assessment. Learning technologists are people who are actively involved in managing, researching, supporting or enabling learning with the use of learning technology. A very wide range of people in industry and in private and public sector education have learning technology as a core part of their role: you do not have to be called or to call yourself a learning technologist to be one! http://www.alt.ac.uk/learning_technology.html Examples: Technologies such as Macromedia Flash and streaming video and audio permit material to be viewed again and again, anywhere, any time. The three main (incompatible) formats for streaming media areReal ,QuickTimeandWindows Media . Practical example:YouTube &http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcbpsYj1LXw 11. Other examples of modern learning technologies

  • Internet & email
  • Email discussion groups
  • Slideshare( www.slideshare.com )
  • Video conferencing
  • Wikis and blogs
  • Virtual Learning Environments
  • PowerPoint
  • Online assessment
  • Digital course materials
  • Pdf files & Adobe Reader (Pdf file creator)
  • CD & DVD technology (cf cassette & video)
  • Distance and open learning environments
  • Scanners & digital cameras & digital video cameras
  • Flash drives & zip drives

12. 8. What is your understanding of ICT & the ICT revolution in the ELT classroom? How has it impacted on self-directed learning? 9. In what way is self-learning or self-study in the 21st century different from what it was like in the last couple of decades of the past century?

  • Learners:quick on the uptake and embrace it easily
  • Teachers: not always keen; at times so deep in ritualistic behaviour thatthey would not make an effort to accept and take on innovations in learning and teaching

13. 10. What teaching strategies does a teacher need to use in order to help students become more autonomous in their learning English?

  • Pair-work, group work, individual presentations, group presentations, project work, talking about learner autonomy in class and in 1-2-1 tutorials, using for example the Test-Teach-Test approach, leaving the classroom occasionally & leaving SS to their own devices

14. 11. Allegedly a good independent learner is able to use a wide range of cognitive and meta-cognitive strategies. Give some examples of both, and say which group is more important. Directed attention, when deciding in advan