Autonomous learners know what they want to learn, when and how. They take responsibility for their own learning, set goals and work towards them. Autonomous learners are more efficient and motivated, because they are actively engaged in the learning process and committed to their goals. They also take advantage of many learning opportunities outside their classroom.
Autonomy is a skill that can be developed in the classroom. And as any skill, it needs to be practiced and applied. Therefore, teacher's role in promoting autonomy is important. Teacher should become a facilitator, guide, advisor and resource, and create a learner-centered environment providing opportunities for active learning, collaboration and reflection.
These are some suggestions on how you can help your students develop necessary skills and become more autonomous in their learning.
- Get to know your learners and help them get to know themselves
- Learning styles and strategies
- Help them Identify learning opportunities outside the classroom
- Help set goals and develop a learning plan
- Use more task -based and project -based activities in your classroom
- Encourage learner self-evaluation and reflection
It is also important to set a personal example and share your own autonomous learning experience with your students.
In your classroom....
It's the end of the year and students (as well as teachers:)) are looking forward to the winter break. It's a great time to give your students something to work on during the holidays to help them realize/ understand that learning doesn't stop when the class is over.
Idea 1:Ask your learners to set specific language goals for the winter break and create their personal learning plan to accomplish those goal. When they return, ask them to reflect on what they have learned/done during the holidays and whether they have achieved the goals. It can be arranged as a Reflection Session (speaking or writing activity), where everyone (individually or in pairs/groups) has an opportunity to share their self-directed learning experience during the winter break.
Idea 2: Create Individual or Group Projects for your students based on their interests and skill levels. Ideas for projects:
Idea 3: Give your students a list of online resources to practice their language skills. Ask them to choose the website(s) (1 - 3) they would like to work on. When they are back to the classroom, they will have to report on their learning experience: challenges and accomplishments. For useful online language resources click here.
Happy Holiday Season!
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