Providing students with various platforms and activities where they can voice their learning helps create an engaging learning environment where students feel autonomous in their learning journey. As Gao (2013) suggests, educators can be involved in their learners’ reflective thinking, where they together assess prioritizing students’ “concerns, desires, and visions” (p.236) and examine further “learning paths” (p.236) in order to promote students’ autonomous language learning.
I’d like to suggest a few ways we can create an environment where students can thrive while strengthening their agency and autonomy:
It is a cognitive awareness that occurs when students are aware of and can articulate what they know and what they need to learn. Thus, it examines the ways an individual learns.
Self-reflection is a huge and often overlooked part of education. While students are often asked to reflect on their own learning, their teachers typically do not coach them in how to do it most effectively. We already know that teacher reflection is a very important part of our professional development. TESL training usually offers great opportunities to learn how to do that. But students have similar needs. Neither teachers nor students can maximally improve their performance without self-reflection.
Do you encourage and provide opportunities for learner self-reflection in your classes? When and how often?
I like to give students opportunities during the term (and of course PBLA prescribes it). But it always seems especially pertinent as the year closes out – whether it is the end of the school year or the end of the calendar year. So, as 2021 comes to a close, I thought I’d share some self-reflection activities that I have used and that you might like to try in your classes. These are good for upper-intermediate and higher levels, including EAP.
The educational reformer and philosopher John Dewey once said, “We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” If, like me, you agree with him, you may find this post on reflective writing meaningful.
It is important to note that writing reflectively does not have to involve only one area of your life. You should be open to write about anything you want, knowing it is going to be for you and your benefit only. It does not really matter what you write about. The key is reflection to enhance mindfulness.
What are some ways you choose to provide feedback to students in higher education? How do you think students perceive and react to our feedback? How effective do you think written feedback comments can be? Nicole and Milligan (2006) have identified seven main principles that effective feedback should entail.
1. Effective feedback helps students identify
what good performance is and assists students in grasping a clear understanding
of the goals and standards set for their level. Research suggests that there is
often a gap between the expected standards set by educators and students’
perception of these standards. Unless students clearly understand the goals and
standards set for them, they cannot succeed in self-regulating their learning
Do you ever teach CLB 5 narrative paragraph writing? Do your students usually write something with pencil on paper that they later discard? Have you ever thought of using Storybird to engage and enhance writing skills or create a class anthology of stories?
One of the best things teachers can do for their students is to help them learn to help themselves. To promote learner autonomy, we need to build students’ self-confidence and give them strategies for teaching themselves. Some of the ways we can do this include the following. Continue reading →