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Autonomy and Language Learning

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Robert Oliwa

on 24 March 2013

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Transcript of Autonomy and Language Learning

what is autonomy
the very concept
and its variations
practice Autonomy and Language Learning Definitions of Autonomy
Language Learning Little (1991) “Autonomy is a capacity – for detachment, critical reflection, decision-making, and independent action.” Benson (2001) “I prefer to define autonomy as the capacity to take control of one’s own learning, largely because the construct of ‘control’ appears to be more open to investigation than the constructs of ‘charge’ or ‘responsibility’.” The very concept of
and its
variations Self-Directed Learning
Holec (1981) Independent Learning
Benson 2001 Holec (1981) “To say of a learner that he is autonomous is therefore to say that he is capable of taking charge of his own learning and nothing more.” Dickinson (1987) "This term describes the situation in which the learner is totally responsible for all of the decisions concerned with his learning and the implementation of those decisions. In full autonomy there is no involvement of a teacher or an institution. And the learner is also independent of specially prepared materials.” Boud (1988) “The main characteristic of autonomy as an approach to learning is that students take some significant responsibility for their own learning over and above responding to instruction.” Wenden (1991) "In effect, ‘successful' or ‘expert' or ‘intelligent' learners have learned how to learn. They have acquired the learning strategies, the knowledge about learning, and the attitudes that enable them to use these skills and knowledge confidently, flexibly, appropriately and independently of a teacher. Therefore, they are autonomous.” Dam (1995) “Learner autonomy is characterized by a readiness to take charge of one’s own learning in the service of one’s needs and purposes. This entails a capacity and willingness to act independently and in co-operation with others, as a socially responsible person.” Littlewood (1996) "We can define an autonomous person as one who has an independent capacity to make and carry out the choices which govern his or her actions. This capacity depends on two main components: ability and willingness.” ... ability to take charge of one’s own learning. The role of the teacher for autonomous learners is to help them to assume the responsibility for making decisions of their learning in 1) determining the objectives, 2) defining the contents and progressions, 3) selecting methods and techniques to be used, 4) monitoring the procedure of acquisition, and 5) evaluating what has been acquired. "... the opposite of dependence, characterized as learners’ reliance on the direction of teachers or learning materials."
"... interdependence has become a particularly challenging development in the theory of autonomy." "... Interdependence implies a responsibility for one’s own social conduct and an ability to cooperate with other people ..." ... interdependence, always balanced between independence and dependence, is the essential condition of humans as social beings". (Little, 1991) Self-Access Language Learning " ... learning theories of behaviorists that emphasize drill-and-practice exercises whereas the emergence of SALL centers is a manifestation of newer concepts from autonomous or self-directed learning." Learner Training
Ellis&Sinclair 1989) " The goal of learner training is to help learners achieve effective learning to become so-called “good” language learners. Good or successful language learners are autonomous because they have learned how to use their strategies independently (Wenden, 1991) technical autonomy,
psychological autonomy
political autonomy Phil BENSON - 1997 Adrian Holliday - 2003 social autonomy representing autonomy as “a pre-existing social phenomenon” that treats people equally as people (Holliday 2003) David Little - 1990 'Autonomy is essentially a matter of the learner's psychological relation to the process and content of learning'

... autonomy is not an approach to enforce a particular way of learning but it should be seen as an educational goal
(Aoki & Smith, 1999).

Another misconception is to perceive autonomy as a single, easily described behavior. Autonomy cannot be easily described because it may manifest in many different forms. Barbara Sinclair (1997 1.Autonomy is a construct of capacity;
2.Autonomy involves a willingness on the part of the learner to take responsibility for their own learning;
3.The capacity and willingness of learners to take such responsibility is not necessarily innate;
4.Complete autonomy is an idealistic goal;
5.There are degrees of autonomy;
6.The degrees of autonomy are unstable and variable;
7.Autonomy is not simply a matter of placing learners in situations where they have to be independent;
8.Developing autonomy requires conscious awareness of the learning process, ie, conscious reflection and decision making;
9.Promoting autonomy is not simply a matter of teaching strategies;
10.Autonomy can take place both inside and outside the classroom;
11.Autonomy has a social as well as an individual dimension;
12.The promotion of learner autonomy has a political as well as psychological dimension;
13.Autonomy is interpreted differently by different cultures. Autonomy Silent Way Communicative
Learning an autonomous language learner is the one who uses language to learn and communicate, thereby demonstrating a capacity to take control of his or her learning. an integral component of communicative language teaching, which aims to develop learners’ communicative competence, or “the interpretation, expression, and negotiation of meaning” in both spoken and written language (Savignon, 1997) ???
application for us
??? autonomous work stations PRACTICE ? a letter to myself Dear Me,
....................... Degrees of Autonomy Awareness Involvement Intervention Creation Transcendence Nunan Example of activities promoting autonomy:
learner diaries, learner contracts, student organisers, questionnaires, evaluation sheets, progress cards, self-reports, self-assessment, videotapes, portfolios, webquest student organisers learner contracts What activities encouraging autonomy
can you think of for your students?
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