Learner Autonomy and Teacher Autonomy BY tung70002003 Learner autonomy and teacher autonomy How to foster learner autonomy and teacher autonomy depends on many factors , including attitude, motivation, methods, management, situations, responsibility, right and capacity of learners ,etc. and it is also based on how we take our teacher roles in classrooms . Being an English student, I have studied the methods to foster my autonomy in teaching English by applying my knowledge and experience to enable my learner to learn English more effectively. I am trying to be more autonomous in earning to foster my autonomy in teaching career.
In my experience of working as an English teacher for many years in many kinds of schools, including primary school, secondary school, high school and foreign language centers, I would like to share what I do to foster autonomy of my learners and myself. Recently, I have been working as a freelance teacher teaching at Vietnamese American Schools ( VA school) and the North America Language Center in the evening. To foster learner autonomy at the North America Center, the first thing I do is considering the characters and desires of my learners. I often observe and talk to them to identify learner characteristics. Some learners are extroverts.
They are quite active and eager to exchange their opinions in my classroom, and I often use tasks involving in collaborative work, including games and discussions. Others are quite introverted, they keep silent and never like to share their opinions, or take part in the above activities so I have to design writing tasks such as writing letters, analyzing their favorite topic in the lesson, etc. In addition, I take the opportunity to talk individually to understand his [her own learning purpose. Some of them have integrative urposes but others have instrumental ones and then I use the most suitable method to help them.
Some of them would like to learn English to read books, newspapers, and watch English movies English to improve their knowledge and to communicate with foreign friends coming to live and work in Vietnam, while some learners have practical purposes such as: getting a good Job in international companies, getting a promotion, getting a high salary or travelling abroad. Oddly, some students share with me that they learn English to look for foreign boyfriends, it may sound silly but it is true that some students tell me that they learn English ecause they want to show off with their friends as a “hot mode” nowadays.
For example, most of my students in my evening classes would like to learn English to go abroad or serve in foreign companies. I help my students improve their communicative skill. I spend less time on grammar lessons I show them websites on Google to improve speaking skill at home. At classroom, I design many communicative activities such as doing quiz, playing games, interviewing, acting play, telling story, discussing in pairs and groups or sharing with class about their interest, experience f the related things but they depend on the topics in their textbooks.
I also introduce to my learners some educational videos on YouTube which are used to teach English Conversation through sitcoms and English songs that I think would be interesting and useful for my learners to improve listening and speaking skills by themselves at home. It is quite easy for me to apply this way in my English classes at want to learn and identify their own goals clearly so they are responsible for their homework and attendance and they always take care of how they learn and how much they can achieve.
Another advantage when I work at language centers and international schools is that I am not allowed to follow any fixed methods so my syllabus is quite flexible. I have more time to share with my students about learning methods, introducing the applications of technology in learning, for instance, helping my students use the software supporting English learning. I can spend more time helping my students answer relevant questions in the textbooks and exchanging opinions and news, useful information of learning with my students, for example, about new books, tips for international exams, chances of getting a scholarship or obs, etc.
Education management is also an important factor of fostering learner and teacher autonomy. Fortunately, most of my managers are experienced English teachers who graduated from famous universities and are favored to fostering autonomy in schools and VS school is a case in point. Ms. Jones is an Academic Advisor with a Ph. D in language. She guides me to apply the Montessori Method, with an emphasis on developing the nature of independence and freedom within limits, which partly foster learner and teacher autonomy. She trusts and supports me to hold collaborative activities involving learners in small groups.
For instance, last week I let my students play a Treasure Hunt Game, in the game students had to work in groups to solve a puzzle with the topic of the environment, they managed to find the instruction in English letter, answered the quizes, did some things such as collecting litter, watering plants in the school yard on the way to find the treasure. I spend a lot of time designing such activities but I find it interesting and useful for my students in developing skills, especially life skills. Certainly, facility and curricula are important elements to an autonomous learning environment.
Most of the rooms here are quipped with air-conditioners, computer and projectors which partly help my students and me implement and create learning activities more easily and effectively. In addition, most of books here are from famous publishers in the world, including Cambridge, Oxford and Longman. The books are partly designed to foster learner and teacher autonomy so I do not spend too much time creating extra tasks. Moreover, I am always encouraged to be innovative in teaching to attract learners to maintain my class and have more conditions to enable myself to develop professional capacity and my students to self-direct their learning.