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Training teachers to use the European Language Portfolio . ECML-short-term project 2008-2009 ELP_TT2 Project co-ordination: Margarete Nezbeda. Learning to learn and learner autonomy. Based on a presentation given by David Little, Trinity College Dublin (adapted by Margarete Nezbeda).

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training teachers to use the european language portfolio
Training teachers to use the European Language Portfolio

ECML-short-term project 2008-2009

ELP_TT2

Project co-ordination:

Margarete Nezbeda

learning to learn and learner autonomy
Learning to learn and learner autonomy

Based on a presentation given by David Little, Trinity College Dublin

(adapted by Margarete Nezbeda)

overview
Overview
  • Learner autonomy: a working definition and its implications
  • Learner autonomy and the ELP
  • Why is learner autonomy important?
  • Why reflection in FL?
  • What must the teacher do? Three pedagogical principles
  • Some questions for discussion
learner autonomy a working definition
Learner autonomy: a working definition
  • The “ability to take charge of one’s own learning”
  • “This ability is not inborn but must be acquired either by ‘natural’ means or (as most often happens) by formal learning, i.e. in a systematic, deliberate way”
  • “To take charge of one’s learning is to have … the responsibility for all the decisions concerning all aspects of this learning …”

(Holec 1981, p.3)

implications of this definition
Implications of this definition
  • The first step towards autonomy is acceptance of responsibility for one’s own learning
  • Acceptance of responsibility is a matter of conscious intention
  • Learner autonomy entails the development of the skills of reflection, analysis and evaluation
  • Learner autonomy means learning how to learn
  • An autonomous learner is a motivated learner!
why is learner autonomy important
Why is learner autonomy important?
  • Autonomy is a basic human need that is as relevant to learning as to any other aspect of life
  • Autonomy is nourished by, but in turn nourishes, our intrinsic motivation, our proactive interest in the world around us
  • Autonomous learners: motivated and reflective learners, their learning is efficient and effective (conversely, all learning is likely to succeed to the extent that the learner is autonomous)
  • Knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom can be applied to situations that arise outside the classroom
learner autonomy and the elp
Learner autonomy and the ELP

According to the Principles and Guidelines

  • The ELP reflects the Council of Europe’s concern with
    • the development of the language learner, which includes the development of the capacity for independent language learning
  • The ELP
    • is a tool to promote learner autonomy by involving the learner in the decision making, the goal-setting, the evaluation
autonomy in formal language learning
Autonomy in formal language learning
  • Three pedagogical principles:
    • Learner involvement: engaging learners to share responsibility for the learning process (the affective dimension)
    • Learner reflection: helping learners to think critically when they plan, monitor and evaluate their learning (the meta-cognitive dimension)
    • Appropriate target language use: Speaking can only be learnt by speaking (the communicative dimension)
slide9

Note that these three principles are not hierarchically related: each implies the other two

Learner involvement

(affective)

Learner reflection

(metacognitive)

Target language use

(communicative)

what does the teacher do
What does the teacher do?
  • Use target language as the preferred medium of classroom communication and require the same of her learners.
  • Involve learners in a non-stop quest for good learning activities, which are shared, discussed, analysed and evaluated with the whole class – in the target language, to begin with in very simple terms.
  • Help learners to set their own learning targets and choose their own learning activities, subjecting them to discussion, analysis and evaluation – again, in the target language.
what does the teacher do1
What does the teacher do?
  • Require learners to identify individual goals but pursue them through collaborative work in small groups.
  • Require learners to keep written record of their learning – plans of lessons and projects, lists of useful vocabulary, whatever texts/videos etc. they produce.
  • Engage learners in regular evaluation of their progress as individual learners and as a class – in the target language.
task for discussion
Task for discussion

1. Browse through the Greek ELP and define the parts which seem particularly suited to develop learner autonomy. (Remember: Learner involvement / learner reflection/ target language use) Make notes and discuss them with your group.

2. What implications could the approach of autonomous learning have for the roles of teachers and learners? Discuss.

references
References

Deci, E. (with R. Flaste), 1995: Why we do what we do: understanding self-motivation. New York: Penguin.

Holec, H., 1981: Autonomy and foreign language learning. Oxford: Pergamon. (First published 1979, Strasbourg: Council of Europe).