On Autonomous Learning of English-major Students Wangtielin Zhangshanshan (Changchun University of Science and Technology) Outline of the paper Introduction Literature Review Investigation
Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.
(Changchun University of Science and Technology)
It is said that the more we know about the learners, the better we can teach. Based on this notion, the author has done a preliminary research from learner’s perspective on Autonomous learning of first-year English majors of ChangChun University of Science and Technology. The unexpected results show that there exists some problems in students’ AL, and this investigation provides us a lot of reflections on the teacher’s task in the future.
What is autonomous learning
Characteristics of autonomous learners
Why do we need autonomous learning The aim of autonomous learning
“The word autonomous comes from the Greek word autos which means self. It is therefore understood that autonomous learning is related to self-directed studies and the learning process. I believe that a good autonomous learner must have very good planning skills in order to plan time for reading and research. I also believe that he/she should be able to prioritize and be committed to the learning process. Autonomous learning also allows the learner to direct his reading and research towards subjects that he/she feels need improvement.” (George Aloumpis, October 2005)
Dickinson (1993:330-31) identifies five characteristics of autonomous learners:
they understand what is being taught;
they are able to formulate their learning objectives;
they are able to select and make use of appropriate learning strategies;
they are able to monitor their use of these strategies;
they are able to self-access , or monitor their own learning.
Social needs: highly-developed changing society needs people with AL competence
Personal needs: to improve students academic level
To develop each person’s potential
Their Long-life task
1.Makes students develop their own learning styles and adopt different learning strategies
2.Form strong learning motivation and increase
3.Make students be self-control
4.Get self-encouragement, self-regulation
5.Have healthy mentality, improve their attention,
6.Make students learn how to cooperate.
The author made a questionnaire based on Candy (1991:459-66)’s lists on competencies associated with autonomous learning.
Be methodical and disciplined
Be logical and analytical
Be reflective and self-aware
Demonstrative curiosity, openness and motivation
Be interdependent and interpersonally competent
Be persistent and responsible
Be venturesome and creative
Show confidence and have a positive self-concept
Be independent and self-sufficient
Have developed information seeking and retrieval skills
Have knowledge about, and skill a, learning processes
Develop and use criteria for evaluating.
A questionnaire consisting of 26 questions designed by the author was distributed to 118 first-year English major students from ChangChun University of Science of Technology. The questions1-8 mainly focus on general ideas about their English learning and AL;Qs9-13 about their pre-class learning; Qs 14-18 about while-class learning; Qs 19-23 about post-class learning; Last three are some open questions concerning their opinions about AL, successful learners and learning strategies.
As to question1-8, we are happy to see that 91% students are interested in learning English, 72% students said that they had confidence in learning, nearly 60% students thought they had found their own way of learning, meanwhile, over 60% students had a clear awareness about how well they learned English and were persistent and responsible in their learning. But 34% students hadn’t found their own way of learning, this is not a small number, it needs the teachers’ attention.
4.1 Anxiety affects autonomous learning
Although higher percentage students were interested in learning, they could not concentrate on learning, they could not actively answer the teachers’ questions. Interests are one thing, learner’s actual behavior is another.It is urgent to foster
their AL Competence.
50 % students said that their motivation in learning English was to find a good job. They had a lower integrative motivation, moderate instrumental motivation.
The relationship between learning interests, motivation and AL competence?
O’Malley and Chamot (1990:138) 0rganise metacognitive strategies in to seven major groups:
Asking questions Lowering your anxiety
Cooperating with others Encouraging yourself
Empathising with others Taking your emotional
From primary schools to university, students always learn under the guide of teachers in school. AL requires that teachers give them a free learning condition. They can choose their own reading materials ,they can learn by following teachers or in our own way, whether they learn by the textbook or by other learning activities. they should learn in their own thinking, but they do not deny the teacher’s function. School and teacher should give them a free condition to learn, they will learn better.
A variety of individual psychological variables
aptitude and personality
visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or tactile learning modalities (Reid,1987)
field-dependence/independence (Chapelle and Green,1992)
motivation, affective state and beliefs
Be capable of self-discipline
Be capable of self-management
Be capable of self-monitoring
Be confident and persistent
Be capable of developing one's own learning style and strategies
The difference between AL and self-study
How to help students lower their anxiety
How to make students actively involved in classroom learning
How to enhance students’ motivation
How to help the students have a clear awareness about some learning strategies and do some strategy training
How to foster AL competence
1. From dependent learning to independent learning.
2. From passively choosing learning materials to actively choosing learning materials.
3. From simple learning approach to various kinds of learning approaches.
4. From passively getting input of knowledge to actively researching.
This study tells that the first-year English major students’ degree of learner autonomy is not so satisfactory. But they themselves should not be blamed. Conversely, I think, it is our teacher’s obligation to help them to transfer their instrumental motivation to motivation of intrinsic interests , to arouse their awareness of learning strategies , further more to foster their ALcompetence