Learner Autonomy: A Guide to Developing Learner Responsibility
Cambridge University Press, Aug 17, 2000 - Foreign Language Study - 112 pages
Learner Autonomy offers practical guidance on helping learners realise that their contribution to the teaching-learning process is crucial. It also encourages them to take an active role in their own learning. Rather than advocating radical changes in Classroom Management, it focuses on the gradual process of changing learner attitudes. The activities are designed to develop a comprehensive range of skills and attitudes including motivation, learning strategies, self-monitoring and co-operation. The activities can be easily integrated into the regular curriculum as almost all serve some linguistic purpose in addition to learner development.
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I realized early on in this book that I would not be able to apply the entire methodology discussed in this book into my classroom. The authors discuss the three steps of promoting learning autonomy which are: raising awareness, changing attitudes and transferring roles. The biggest reason for why I would not be able to do prescribed is that I have one particular group of students for two months before they move on. Also, in these two months I don't have much breathing room to add in very much to my lesson plans.
Despite this, there are lots of ideas that I have learned that I could use to supplement my speaking and grammar classes. Some of the ideas that I really liked were the 'Group work analysis' section which would help the students reflect on their and other group members' participation in group work; 'Speak to yourself' which is a self-reflection questionnaire that I could have my students fill out after they have completed their online speaking practice homework; 'Token game' which helps shows which the level of participation of each student when having group discussion; and 'Dialogue repair' which is an alternative student center activity that helps students try to fix the grammar they have learned in an example dialogue they heard.
I find that this book would definitely be a help to a teacher who has a very teacher-centered classroom. While extremely student-centered classes may not be appropriate for every teacher, the authors discuss how to bring about change to a classroom over a period of time. Additionally, there were great discussion on why bringing this change about slowly can benefit both the teachers and the students for those who are teaching English in a country that has a culture of teacher dominated classrooms.