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Strides towards Independent Learning in Foreign Language Contexts

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Presentation on theme: "Strides towards Independent Learning in Foreign Language Contexts"— Presentation transcript:

1 Strides towards Independent Learning in Foreign Language Contexts
Dr. Osman Hassan Osman University of Nizwa/Oman TESOL Sudan 2015

2 Why Independent Learning?
The notion of independence or autonomy plays an important role in language learning. It focuses on the needs of individual learners rather than the interests of teachers. It views learners as individuals with needs and rights. It is a move towards more learner-centred approaches. It raises learners’ awareness and knowledge of themselves.

3 Independence Learning and Language Learning Strategies
Students should develop the ability to engage with, interact with and benefit from learning environment. Teachers should help students achieve the goals and succeed in breaking the umbilical cord between learners and teachers Learners may develop learning autonomy by employing language learning strategies. The next show is about language learning startegies.

4 What are Language Learning Strategies?
Learning strategies or learner strategies? Definitions: “Learner strategies refers to language learning behaviour learners actually engage in to learn and regulate the learning of a second language…what they know about the strategies they use …” (Wenden, 1987:6). “Specific actions taken by the learner to making learning easier, faster, more enjoyable, more self-directed, more effective and more transferable to new situations” (Oxford, 1990:8). Classifications of learning strategies: Direct vs. indirect strategies Memory, cognitive, compensation strategies Metacognitive, affective, social strategies

5 Language Learning Strategies within Two Perspectives
The difference between the two perspectives: Individual vs. group. The cognitive perspective: LLS are a specific plan, action, behaviour, step or technique individual learners employ consciously to enhance their learning which may lead to learner autonomy. The sociocultural perspective: The fundamental unit is the society and its culture. LLS are a higher mental function, i.e. analysis, synthesis, planning, or evaluation with the help of a more capable person in a sociocultural context. Are these perspectives ontologically and epistemologically reconcilable or irreconcilable? This is a controversial issue.

6 Reconciliation of the Two Perspectives
For some scholars, these two perspectives are parallel. They think that their ontological and epistemological underpinnings are irreconcilable, e.g. Zuengler and Miller (2006). For others, the compatibility and complementarily of the two perspectives is possible and useful, e.g. Oxford and Schramm (2007). Both perspective view LLS in relation to: self-regulation, motivation and volition, and aptitude. Other-regulation through scaffolding and ZPD becomes self-regulation. Motivation and volition are inner drive but can also be influenced by the social environment (sociocultural context). Aptitude can be expanded within sociocultural perspective to be more comprehensive following Vygotsky’s ideas. In his opinion, aptitude is more dynamic and influenced by social interaction. Factors that influence the choice of LLS.

7 Factors Influence the Choice of Language Learning Strategies
The following factors may affect the choice of language learning strategies positively or negatively: Language teaching methods English language proficiency Motivation Aptitude Learning styles Gender Age The discussion now turns to the importance of teachers and more able peers’ intervention.

8 The Importance of Teachers’ and more able Peers’ Intervention
Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development Scaffolding from teachers and more able peers Collaborative learning within group work When do teachers and more able peers intervene and when do they withdraw? In what follows a model is suggested to teach language learning strategies to develop learner autonomy.

9 The Model of Teaching Language Learning Strategies
The teacher raises students’ awareness of the strategies they always use. The teacher models the strategies s/he intends to teach Students practice the strategy/strategies in groups Students evaluate the strategies. The teacher asks students which strategies work for them or suit their styles. The teacher checks if students are able to transfer these strategies to other tasks. The teacher and the students evaluate the strategies used and their impact on what they have studied. The teacher assigns homework for students and reminds them to use similar strategies in doing their homework The next show is about the findings of a study to indicate how to develop learner autonomy.

10 The Findings of the Study
Students are medium users of language learning strategies. The rank of the strategies used: 1.metacognitive, 2.memory, 3. compensation, 4.cognitive, 5. social 6. affective strategies. Teaching learning may benefit and change students’ preference to the better English proficiency has impact on the choice of learning strategies but may not influence the impact of teaching methods on the use of these strategies. Scaffolding offered to less able students seemed to be useful and has positive influence. The key findings support the explicit teaching of learning strategies within the cognitive and sociocultural perspectives.

11 A big thank you Thank you for your time and your feedback. Goodbye.

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