RosukhonSwatevacharkul For the LI faculty members Wednesday, 7 September 2011 Learner Autonomy: What Every Teacher Should Know
Topics • Related theory: Learner-centredness • Terminology review/overview • Components of autonomy • Degrees of autonomy • Characteristics of autonomous learner • Learner training: cognitive and metacognitive strategy • Teacher role: counsellor • Research
Related theory: Learner-centredness based on 2 components(Tudor ,1996) • It is necessary for language teacher to realise that language learners are complex and varied as human beings, and work with them in individual and in social and cultural terms. • Language teaching signifies an educational attempt to empower learners by making them able to take responsibility for their own language learning, which relates to their life goals.
Related theory: Learner-centredness • language teaching • moves away from the transmission of knowledge (the language) towards language learning as the active production of knowledge Methods of learning, not teaching
Related theory: Learner-centredness • language teaching For effective language teaching: • teaching structure needs to be made in relation to the needs, characteristics and expectations of learners, • learners must be encouraged to be active participants Enhance their learning involvement
Related theory: Learner-centredness • Emphasize autonomous learning • All human beings have a tendency to move towards completion or fulfilment of potentials (actualising tendency). • Individuals have the creative power within themselves to solve problems, change their self-concepts, and become increasingly self-directed. (Carl Rogers) Do you agree with Carl Rogers?
Terminology review/overview • Benson (1997): • autonomy as the act of learning on one’s own and the technical ability to do so; • autonomy as the internal psychological capacity to self-direct one’s own learning; • autonomy as control over the content and processes of one’s own learning.
Terminology review/overview • Dickinson (1987: 11) • ‘the situation in which the learner is totally responsible for all of the decisions concerned with his learning and the implementation of those decisions’.
Terminology review/overview • Holec (1981:3) • ‘to take charge of one’s learning’ : ‘ to have, and to hold, the responsibility for all the decisions concerning all aspects of this learning, i.e.: • determine the objectives; • define the contents and progressions; • select methods and techniques to be used; • monitor the procedure of acquisition properly (rhythm, time, place, etc.); • evaluate what has been acquired.
Terminology review/overview • Autonomy is semantically various and complex (Little and Dam, 1998). 3 reasons (Gardner and Miller, 1999) • 1) autonomy and independent learning have been defined by different writers in different ways. • 2) Autonomy is an area that is still debated in terms of its definitions, therefore, there is no agreed definition. • 3) The concepts of autonomy and independent learning have developed in a variety of geographical areas; consequently, different terminology although similar is used to define the concepts. What is your definition?
Autonomy Attitudes Capacity Motivation Willingness Ability Knowledge Skills Responsibility Confidence Learning effectiveness • Components of autonomy Wenden, 1991 ; Littlewood, 1996; Benson, 2001 Opportunity Value Reward Autonomy Psychological preparation Methodological preparation
Degrees of autonomy • Freedom autonomous learning outside or within the full time educational system • self-instruction total autonomy if no teacher is involved at all semi-autonomy which involves both conventional teaching and self-instruction
Degrees of autonomy • Direction from the teacher Teacher-directed learning is still needed. Learner autonomy does not mean learner in isolation. Learners need help during the time that they accept their own learning responsibility. Different degrees of autonomy result from different degrees of self-direction in learning (Holec, 1981)
Degrees of autonomy • Proactive and Reactive autonomy (Littlewood, 1999) • Self-regulation for the direction of activity and regulate the activity
Degrees of autonomy • Implementation (Nunan, 1997)
Degrees of autonomy • Classroom autonomy development approaches (Smith, 2003)
Characteristics of autonomous learner • responsible for their own learning • determine the organisation of their learning – what and how to learn • able to seek support and help from others such as other learners and teachers • be more and more autonomous in making decisions and carrying out evaluation of their learning • integrate new knowledge with what they already know
Characteristics of autonomous learner • be active participants in the social learning process (able to use the target language) 1) able to match a task or activity with a learning purpose 2) able to know causes of their learning difficulties 3) able to use strategies appropriate for communication achievement or learning goal • be capable of critical reflection skill
Learner training • Dickinson (1987: 2) • ‘Learners do not achieve autonomy by being told to, nor by being denied conventional class teaching; in these ways they are likely only to achieve failure. Autonomy is achieved slowly, through struggling towards it, through careful training and careful preparation on the teacher’s part as well as on the learner’s, …’.
Learner training Holec (1981): two processes of autonomy acquisition. • 1) a gradual ‘deconditioning’ process will withdraw all the false perceptions of learning experiences of the learners and their role in language learning. This process deals with the psychological aspect of learners since it aims at changing their attitudes towards learning and their role as well as confidence to make self-assessment of their learning performance. • 2) acquisition of knowledge and knowledge learners need in order to take responsibility for their learning
Autonomy Attitudes Capacity Motivation Willingness Ability Knowledge Skills Responsibility Confidence Learning effectiveness • Components of autonomy Wenden, 1991 and Littlewood, 1996 Psychological preparation Methodological preparation
Learner training Dickinson (1992) broadly defines learner training as a training in various strategies of learning. Ellis and Sinclair (1989) refer to learner training as a way that helps learners become more effective learners of English and take more responsibility for their own learning.
Learner training • two types of preparation (Dickinson, 1987)
Learner training • Learning strategies: • Cognitive strategiesinvolve interacting with the material to be learned, manipulating the material mentally and physically, or applying a specific technique to a learning task (Chamot et al., 1999: 138). • Inferencing, summarizing, deduction (applying rules), imagery, etc. Directly related to language learning
Learner training • Learning strategies: • Metacognitive strategieslearning management techniques, which includes deciding what to focus on, how long to work, how to check work, and what to do next. • Planning, monitoring, problem-solving, and evaluating Related to the management of learning
Teacher role: counsellor Defined for the learning situation that is more individualised than the classroom situation (Voller, 1997). The counsellor has two main roles. (Gremmo and Riley, 1995: 159): • to ‘help learners develop an adequate set of values, ideas and techniques in the fields of language and language learning’. • to ‘establish and manage the resource centre which is central to a self-directed learning system’
Teacher role: counsellor • proposed effective counselling aspects • Confidence: Learners are confident that they can get help from the counsellors and the counsellors have confidence that they can offer help, advice, or solutions to the learners. • Comfort: Both learners and counsellors need to feel comfortable with the counselling sessions. Familiarity with the counselling will increase their comfort which is connected with their confidence.
Teacher role: counsellor • proposed effective counselling aspects • Student/teacher relationship: Their relationship will be improved when they feel comfortable about their new roles. Learners will see the counsellors as ‘helpers’ more than as ‘teachers’. • Self-awareness:Learners should be more aware of their learning situations and their learning aims while the counsellors are aware of learners’ learning development by the end of each counselling session.
Research Measurement of autonomy (?) Action research/Case study • Proficiency (?) • Relationship between the development of autonomy and the acquisition of language proficiency • Learning behaviours • Reflection skill on their learning • Attitudes • Outside class learning • Capacity to produce more effective learning plans, participate more in decision making processes