Developing Learner Autonomy through a Selection of Practical Reading and Writing Activities

As students acclimate to university life, they often are encouraged by teachers to take their education into their own hands by becoming responsible for their own learning, what teachers refer to as ‘being an autonomous learner.’  While most teachers try to balance stick-and-carrot motivation, from the student perspective it usually boils down to either having more tasks to complete for explicit credit (viewed as a stick) or to the broad, and most likely ignored, realm of ‘self-study’ (a dangling carrot).  Both can pose a problem because students may not see the carrot in the ‘self-study’ tasks and may resent the stick used in credit-based assignments, lamenting as just having more work. Mr. Tagane and Ms. Pritchett are therefore interested in ways to blend such motivation to successfully grow autonomous learners that more readily take personal responsibility inside and outside of the classroom for their own English improvement. In this joint presentation, ‘autonomy’ was approached from the perspective of student initiative and volition and the discussion is on a selection of practical activities for the classroom. Mr. Tagane examined the benefits of using M-reader, an online quiz system for Extensive Reading (ER) program for both teachers and students, and Ms. Pritchett  led a dialogue on autonomy and collaboration in writing.

Presenters: Mr. Yuichi Tagane from Akita International University and his research colleague, Ms. Colleen Pritchett

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