Kate Atkinson

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EMPOWERING LEARNERS To Learn Autonomously by Kate Atkinson Indian Indian Thai Vietnamese Iraqi Cambodia n Iraqi NewZealand Samoan Samoa n Teacher- Aide Tutor

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    To Learn Autonomously by Kate AtkinsonIndianIndianThaiVietnameseIraqiCambodianIraqiNew ZealandSamoanSamoanTeacher-AideTutor

  • Autonomous Learners

    Autonomous Learners are empowered to be fulfilled and/or effective citizens in a democratic society.Palfreyman (2003:p3)

  • All Students Should Be Given the Tools of EmpowermentLearners need to take charge of their learning in order to make the most of the available resources outside the classroom Waite (1994) NB: clip boardField Trip

  • Culture and Learning AutonomyCulture refers to the values and customary ways of behaving in different kinds of communities.e.g The Culture of the Classroom

  • Culture and Learning Autonomy The Culture of LearningThe classroom cultureA community of shared learninge.g. going to lessons working in groups - practicing language

    Tools and products which play a part in the learning practicee.g. computers, text books, posters

    Associated Rolese.g. learners, teachers, teacher-aides

    Learning Practicese.g. Group work, field trips, teacher instruction and Individual Learning Plans

  • INDIVIDUAL LEARNING PLANThe Individual Learning Plan is an initiative to promote Learning Autonomy and was part of the classroom culture of the Adult Literacy Course I tutored from 2005-2009

  • Promoting Learner AutonomyThe Individual Learning Plan and Motivation:ILP. Every afternoon the students worked autonomously focusing on their individual learning goals for the 10 week term.

    Harmer (2007, pg 84) Many adults are able to sustain a level of motivation by holding on to a distant goal.

  • The ObjectiveTo provide the students with a self directed, self developed (in collaboration with tutor) self monitoring programme developed to help the student meet their individual learning needs over the 10 week term period.NZSamoa

  • Empowered to LearnA technical perspective on autonomy emphasises the development of strategies for effective learning: this approach is often referred to as learner training.(Oxford 1990, Wendon 1991) ThailandNZ

  • Empowered to Learn Learner TrainingLearning Strategies: Teachers should attend to common strategies that can promote successful autonomous learning across many cultures and contexts. Harmer (2007)LEARNING STRATEGIES : are specific methods of approaching a problem or task, modes of operation for achieving a particular end, planned designs for controlling and manipulating certain information . Oxford & Ehram (1998:8)

    A Selection of StrategiesCooperation (cognitive strategies)Making a general but comprehensive preview of the organizing concept or principle in an anticipated learning activity. Note taking (cognitive strategies)Writing down the main idea, important points, outline, or summary of information presented orally or in writing..Self Monitoring (metacognitive strategies)Deciding in advance to attend to specific aspect of language input or situational details that will cue the retentions of language inputImagery (cognitive strategies)Relating new information to visual concepts in memory via familiar, easily retrievable visualisations, phrases or locations.Cooperation (socioaffective strategies) Working with one or more peers to model a language activity, obtain feedback or pool information.Brown (2007)

  • Empowered for LearningLearning Styles: Are those general characteristics of intellectual functioning (and personality type..) that pertain to an individual Harmer (2007:119)Learning StylesThere is also a need to equip students with an understanding and appreciation of their unique learning style. The Curriculum Director of the PTE I worked for introduced learning styles to give the students an empowering tool to become autonomous, self-motivated learners. The focus was auditory, visual and kinesthetic and the various combinations of these learning styles. TongaNZ

  • Autonomy and InterdependenceDefinition: Interdependence - The ability of learners to work together for mutual benefit to take shared responsibility for their learningBoud (1981: Brookfield 1986)

    CollectivismMay be seen as conducive to interdependent group based version of autonomy Littlewood (1996)

    During ILP time students had the option of enlisting the help of fellow students for collaborative and/or co-operative learning to help them reach their learning goals.


  • Autonomy and Interdependence An example Group SpellingDuring ILP time the respective groups would arrange a meeting time and together, using one spelling text book per group, discuss and implement strategies to assist each other to reach their term spelling objective.

    Learning occurs through interaction between people and with mediating objects such as learning materials. Palfreyman (2003: p4)

  • Autonomous Learners and the TutorIndependence from a teacher is often taken as an observable sign of autonomyAlthough work with a tutor is sometimes seen as comprising autonomy, collaboration has come to be seen in a more positive light as an important component of learning autonomyPalfreyman (2003 p4) As a example of collaboration with the tutor but still learning autonomously, this class worked autonomously to prepare a flip-chart presentation about their culture. They were each given an instruction hand-out with the expected dead line and the issue they were to address on each page of the flip chart, for example page 4:- a place that is special to you/your culture. The rest was up to them. During the process I was available for conferencing if assistance or feedback was required..Here the students are delivering their projects to fellow students using a type of speed dating format. leaving the tutor free to take photos.

  • Successful Autonomous LearnersIt has been my experience that regardless of the natural culture when the expectation in the class-room culture is that of autonomous learningthe students equipped with learning strategies, an understanding of their learning style and the appropriate motivation becomeRwandaIndiaThailandNew Zealand

  • ReferencesPalfreyman, D. (2003) Learner autonomy across cultures (pp. 1-16). Houdmills, Basingstoke. Hamps., UK: Palgrave MacmillianWaite (1994) in Palfreyman, D. (2003) Learner autonomy across cultures (pp.1). Houdmills, Basingstoke. Hamps., UK: Palgrave MacmillianOxford (1990) in Palfreyman, D. (2003) Learner autonomy across cultures (pp.3). Houdmills, Basingstoke. Hamps., UK: Palgrave MacmillianWenden, (1991) in Palfreyman, D. (2003) Learner autonomy across cultures (pp.3). Houdmills, Basingstoke. Hamps., UK: Palgrave MacmillianBoud (1981) in Palfreyman, D. (2003) Learner autonomy across cultures (pp.3). Houdmills, Basingstoke. Hamps., UK: Palgrave MacmillianBrookfield (1986) in Palfreyman, D. (2003) Learner autonomy across cultures (pp.3). Houdmills, Basingstoke. Hamps., UK: Palgrave MacmillianHarmer, J (2007) The practice of English Language Teaching, Pearson Education Ltd, Harlow. Essex UK.Brown, H.D. (2007) Principles of Language Learning and Teaching (pp134-135) 5th Edition, Pearson Education , Inc. White Plains NY.

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