has been a buzz word in foreign language education
Language education is the teaching and learning of a foreign or second language. Language education is a branch of applied linguistics.- Need for language education :...
in the past decades, especially in relation to lifelong learning skills. It has transformed old practices in the language classroom and has given origin to self access language learning centers
Self access language learning centers are educational facilities designed for student learning that is at least partially, if not fully self-directed. Students have access to resources ranging from photocopied exercises with answer keys to computer software for language learning...
around the world such as the SALC at Kanda University of International Studies
or KUIS is a private university located in Makuhari, Mihama-ku, Chiba, Japan. The university was founded in 1987 as an extension of Kanda Institute of Foreign Languages in Tokyo. KUIS is a research university specializing in learner autonomy...
in Japan, the ASLLC at The Hong Kong Institute of Education, the SAC at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is a public university located in Hong Kong. Established in 1991 under Hong Kong Law Chapter 1141 , it is one of the nine universities in Hong Kong.Professor Tony F. Chan is the president of HKUST...
and ELSAC at the University of Auckland
The University of Auckland is a university located in Auckland, New Zealand. It is the largest university in the country and the highest ranked in the 2011 QS World University Rankings, having been ranked worldwide...
. As the result of such practices, language teaching is now seen as language learning and it has placed the learner as the centre of our attention in language learning education.
The term "learner autonomy" was first coined in 1981 by Henri Holec, the "father" of learner autonomy. Many definitions have since been given to the term, depending on the writer, the context, and the level of debate educators have come to. It has been considered as a personal human trait, as a political measure, or as an educational move. This is because autonomy is seen either (or both) as a means or as an end in education.
Some of the most well known definitions in present literature are:
Taken from Gardner and Miller, Establishing Self-Access from theory to practice. CUP (1999)
- 'Autonomy is the ability to take charge of one's own learning' (Henri Holec )
- 'Autonomy is essentially a matter of the learner's psychological relation to the process and content of learning' (David Little)
- 'Autonomy is a situation in which the learner is totally responsible for all the decisions concerned with his [or her] learning and the implementation of those decisions'. (Leslie Dickinson)
- 'Autonomy is a recognition of the rights of learners within educational systems'. (Phil Benson)
See also Leni Dam, who has written a seminal work on autonomy. (Dam, L. (1995) Autonomy from Theory to Classroom Practice. Dublin: Authentik.)
One of the key aspects to consider in defining Learner Autonomy is whether we view it as a means to an end (learning a foreign language) or as an end in itself (making people autonomous learners). These two options do not exclude each other, both of them can be part of our views towards language learning or learning in general.
Principles of learner autonomy could be:
- Autonomy means moving the focus from teaching to learning.
- Autonomy affords maximum possible influence to the learners.
- Autonomy encourages and needs peer support and cooperation.
- Autonomy means making use of self/peer assessment.
- Autonomy requires and ensures 100% differentiation.
- Autonomy can only be practised with student logbooks which are a documentation of learning and a tool of reflection.
- The role of the teacher as supporting scaffolding and creating room for the development of autonomy is very demanding and very important.
- Autonomy means empowering students, yet the classroom can be restrictive, so are the rules of chess or tennis, but the use of technology can take students outside of the strictures of the classroom, and the students can take the outside world into the classroom.
There have been numerous studies relating the conative factors associated with autonomous learning, Reeve, J., Bolt, E., & Cai, Y. (1999) and Murdock, T. B., Anderman, L. H., & Hodge, S. A. (2000), to cite a few. The salient characteristics associated with autonomous learning (resourcefulness, initiative, and persistence) are crucial for high school-level students. Currently, the school structure in place in the US is composed of a ladder system of advancement as directed solely by academic achievement. As students proceed up the ladder, they are exposed to ever greater needs for learner autonomy.
This increase in learner autonomy does not have a linear incremental increase throughout the 13 grades (from K-12), but shows a dramatic increase in the transition from middle (or junior high) school to high school. Studies suggest that students taught methods for autonomous learning have a greater probability of succeeding in a high school setting. Further, students screened for their level of autonomous learning perform better than those advanced simply on scholarly achievement (Dillner, 2005).
An instrument for assessing learner autonomy may play a significant role in determining a student’s readiness for high school. Such an instrument now exists that is appropriate for the adolescent learner. This instrument is suitable for assessing suitability for greater learner
autonomy; a quality that should be present in high school students.
- Anarchistic free school
- Education reform
Education reform is the process of improving public education. Small improvements in education theoretically have large social returns, in health, wealth and well-being. Historically, reforms have taken different forms because the motivations of reformers have differed.A continuing motivation has...
Unschooling is a range of educational philosophies and practices centered on allowing children to learn through their natural life experiences, including play, game play, household responsibilities, work experience, and social interaction, rather than through a more traditional school curriculum....
- Sudbury school
A Sudbury school is a school that practices a form of democratic education in which students individually decide what to do with their time, and learn as a by-product of ordinary experience rather than adopting a descriptive educational syllabus or standardized instruction by classes following a...
- Compulsory education
Compulsory education refers to a period of education that is required of all persons.-Antiquity to Medieval Era:Although Plato's The Republic is credited with having popularized the concept of compulsory education in Western intellectual thought, every parent in Judea since Moses's Covenant with...