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:
In my last blog, I wrote about the educational movements and how they have encouraged new methods of viewing teaching and learning. They have also made room for new forms of content delivery to be developed. One of the more recent developments in content delivery, which is becoming popular in language teaching, is Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT), or “learning by doing.” Learning by doing can be defined as performing an action, i.e. enactment; in comparison, other ways of learning something are learning by viewing or learning by listening (Steffens et al., 2015). There is a general assumption that learning by doing creates better memories of an event or action, and so styles like TBLT are becoming more popular.
Schools were first developed not as a past-time, but as a way to elevate the rich and then as a way to educate the masses before they entered the workforce. One of the most basic reasons for this was the need for a literate workforce. Literacy and mathematics have been at the core of global educational systems for hundreds of years, and maybe not surprisingly, these subjects are still there.
Over the past two years, I have been attending a lot of webinars, presentations, conferences, dialogues and online courses. I’ve also been reading blogs and articles as well as doing presentations and writing blogposts. I’ve gained knowledge and collected remarkable resources. Tools like the ones below can help us design tasks that will engage and motivate our learners.
Consider how much time instructors and students spend in front of electronic screens and how essential technology has become within the last eight months. Meetings and lessons delivered via Zoom and other online platforms are the new normal. Given the challenging times that we are facing including new approaches to learning, living, and overcoming adversity, the idea of new materialism is gaining momentum.
Noticing theory in the
context of cognitive linguistics seems to offer an interesting insight into the
processes accompanying second language acquisition focusing on the problems of
attention, awareness and memory. “Noticing” – despite disagreements in defining
the term – seems to function as a gateway into these processes in Richard
Schmidt’s (1995) deliberations. An ESL instructor “in the field,” might have burning
questions such as these: How is noticing initiated? Is it totally subjective
and personalized, or does it have some regularities that could be exploited in
the classroom? If the latter is true, then what are the stimulants? How can one
effectively manage the process of transforming “comprehensible input” into
I often think of my classroom, in which I teach advanced English learners, as a laboratory. The analogy seems appropriate since both parties – students and I – are involved in some intense and sometimes experimental brain manipulations. Often by design, but also incidentally. Sometimes stemming from theoretical reflection, often just from common sense and intuition.
does being a skillful teacher mean to you? Is it the same as or similar to
being a powerful teacher? Are there any expectations inherent in unravelling
any difference between these two perceptions?
Stephen Brookfield, a scholar in adult
education, is someone I look up to because his focus is on helping adults learn
how to critically think about internalized ideologies. He believes that we teach to change the world
and that being a sincere and reflective educator can be complex but that we
need to be aware of those complexities in order to learn and empower our
students (Brookfield, 2015). I have always enjoyed learning about his perspective
and determining how I can use it in my teaching techniques.
Why is extensive reading important for
language learning? And how can students be motivated to read for pleasure?
As an international student and immigrant, I
know how difficult it is to read extensively in English. Diverse backgrounds
and school experiences can create different profiles of reading strengths and
needs. As an experienced
EAP/ESL/EFL instructor, I did a case study about Extensive Reading (ER) for my
MA, and I learned things I wished I had known much earlier! Now I would like to
share that knowledge with other instructors because ER touches every skill we
teach (Reading, Writing, Grammar, Speaking and Listening).